Edward Colston statue replaced by sculpture of Black Lives Matter protesters

Report by Sangita Lal

The statue of slave trader Edward Colston has been replaced during the early hours of this morning by a figure of a Black Lives Matter protester.

The slave trader's statue was torn down and thrown into the harbour during protests in June.

The plinth has since remained empty-apart from a few hours when a mannequin of Jimmy Saville appeared before it was removed.

Jen Reid in front of the statue based on her. Credit: PA Images

But early on Wednesday 15 July a team of 10 people installed a figure of protester Jen Reid on Colston's place.

The new sculpture, called 'A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020' by artist Marc Quinn, captures the moment protester Jen Reid stood on top of the empty plinth last month during the protest with her fist in the air.

Those behind the statue say no formal consent was sought before its installation. Credit: ITV News West Country

A statement released today on behalf of Marc Quinn and Jen Reid said no formal consent from authorities was sought for the installation.

Bristol City Council is yet to announce its plans for the plinth.

Mayor Marvin Rees had previously said any decision on how the plinth should be used would be decided democratically through consultation.

In a new statement today Mayor Rees echoed those sentiments.

The statue of Edward Colston has been placed in a secret location the protest Credit: ITV News West Country

He said: “The future of the plinth and what is installed on it must be decided by the people of Bristol."

"This will be critical to building a city that is home to those who are elated at the statue being pulled down, those who sympathise with its removal but are dismayed at how it happened and those who feel that in its removal, they’ve lost a piece of the Bristol they know and therefore themselves."

“The sculpture that has been installed today was the work and decision of London based artist. It was not requested and permission was not given for it to be installed."

Passers-by stop to take a picture of the new statue Credit: PA Images

Artist Marc Quinn said: "This sculpture captures a moment. My friend who knew thisshowed me a picture on Instagram of Jen standing on the plinth in Bristol with her fist in a Black Power salute."

"My first instant thought was how incredible it would be to make a sculpture of her, in that instant. It is such a powerful image, of a moment I felt, had to be materialised, forever.

"Jen and I are not putting this sculpture on the plinth as a permanent solution to what should be there - it’s a spark which we hope will help to bring continued attention to this vital and pressing issue."

Reid added: "On my way home from the protests on 7 June, I felt an overwhelming impulse to climb onto the plinth, just completely driven to do it by the events which had taken place right before."

"I wanted to give George Floyd power, I wanted to give power to Black people like me who have suffered injustices and inequality."

"I’m collaborating with Marc Quinn on this project as he cares about pushing inclusion to the forefront of people’s minds and uses his art to make people think."

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