Looking for Donkeys, 2009
16mm film transferred to DVD, 15m 0s
There are 400 feral Donkeys on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. Denmark bought St. John in 1718 and held the island and the neighboring islands St. Thomas and St. Croix until 1917, when they were sold to the United States. The donkeys were brought to the island by the Danish colonizers in the 18th century to be used as beasts of burden at the sugar plantations. Today most of the island is a nature preserve. Having lost their original function, the donkeys roam the island as ghosts of Danish colonial times. Among the local population there are differing opinions about the donkeys: some regard them as a spectacle, others see them as a plague. During summer 2008, I went to St. John looking for the donkeys.