Jens Galschiot, Sculptor, Banevaenget 22, DK-5270 Odense N, Denmark

Tel. (+45) 6618 4058, Private (+45) 6614 4038, Fax (+45) 6618 4158

E-mail:, Internet:


Proposal for a monument to

The Danish Slave Transports

Interim working title: Afro-Danes


The idea behind the project:
The construction of the first and only monument to the 96,100 slaves, that from the 1600s and all through the Florissant period, were transported over the Atlantic under the Danish banner.

I am working from a basic idea about constructing the sculpture exclusively, with the use of African carcasses. The bodies are placed so they are lying very close – in the same way that they were packed in the Danish slave transports.

The sculpture itself is formed like a rectangular block, 4 meters in length and 1.70 meters wide, and 1.80 meters tall.

This human-block is placed on a concrete socket. The size of the monument will ultimately depend on the site it must be on.

Shaping and forging the monument will take from a half year to one year.


The sculpture is manufactured, like most of my other sculptures, in imperishable materials. The sculpture itself is forged in copper with an inner reinforcement in stainless steel. The socket is manufactured in Swedish granite. The inscriptions on the socket of the ‘names’ of the slaves are etched onto bronze plates.

Description of the sculpture:
See sketch-photos:

The surface of the sculpture is made entirely out of closely spaced African men and women,  every second carcass will be upside down. This makes it possible to pack them even closer; it was the method in which they were packed in the slave transports. The carcasses will be in full human size, and will be moulded up so you can see the different facial expressions and characteristics from the African tribes who were most exposed to the Danish slave transports.

I enclosed some photos so it is possible to get a feel for how the monument will look like finished. In the photo it’s not carcasses, but sculptures that I had made prior and have placed together to give you a general idea of the monument’s appearance.

By placing the compressed bodies up close, and by placing every second upside down, visualization is achieved of the humiliation, the human vision, and the reification that was the reason other people were turned into slaves.

At the sculpture’s pedestal, large bronze plates of 1x1 meters are placed. Which are engraved with the historical data from the 96,100 who were captured and transported from Africa’s shores.

The sculpture will be placed at a central point in the capital, preferably with historical references.

Actually I am working with the idea of placing the monument, at the socket for the Isted Lion which is unoccupied since the Lion has been moved back to Flensburg. But other placements could be discussed.

Afro-Danes monument meets the Ministry of Culture and the expert committee on criteria that the sculpture be consistent and fit into the historical surroundings. The space is built on the old naval port from 1620, and one must assume that in this naval port there is Old Danish slave transports anchored up.

The Isted Lion was as much a grave-monument as a victory-monument, since we lost twice the amount of men as the Germans and in 1864 – two years after the statue was raised, it was removed by the Germans who had incorporated the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein.

It will be a strong expression of sound national soul-searching to replace it with a plaque for the African victims of the development of our welfare state.

Such a project of exchange will challenge our unassailable view of itself as mild and humane. The project would have an obvious reference to the Danish minority in South Schleswig, which has a prominent role in our national self-understanding and therefore receive legitimate moral and economic support from Denmark. Is our self-awareness be integrated, however, we must also deal with the dark pages of our history. A monument to victims of slavery would be a welcome reminder of a dark chapter which we too long have supplanted.

The price depends of course on the size, and the size depends on the where the sculpture is to be placed. But with much experience with building of similar artworks, I assume that the monument ‘Afro-Danes’ will be manufactured and erected in a payment limit of approx. one million DKK. The relatively low price is because I have my own foundries in Odense, and therefore save a lot of money on external work.

Manufacturing the human carcasses in wax      450,000 DKK
Untying in silicon                                                     100,000 DKK
Casting in copper                                                     350,000 DKK
Stone pedestal in granite                                         30,000 DKK
Transporting the sculpture, and pedestal             28,000 DKK
Mounting, welding expenses etc.                           35,000 DKK

In all:                                                                           993,000 DKK

Jens Galschiot, 26 May 2010