Statue of protester appears on Colston plinth

BBC News – UK

2020-07-15 07:23:28

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A sculpture of protester Jen Reid appeared early on Wednesday where the statue of Edward Colston had been

A figure of a Black Lives Matter protester has appeared on the empty plinth previously occupied by the statue of slave trader Edward Colston.

A sculpture of protester Jen Reid was erected early on Wednesday in Bristol city centre where the Colston statue was pulled down last month.

Ms Reid had been photographed standing on the empty plinth after the Colston statue was toppled during the march.

Artist Marc Quinn said the sculpture did not have formal consent.

He said the black resin statue – called A Surge of Power – was a “temporary public installation”.

Mr Quinn said he was inspired to create it after seeing an image of Ms Reid standing on the plinth with her fist raised during Black Lives matter protests.

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PA Media

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Jen Reid had been photographed standing on the empty plinth after the Colston statue was toppled during the Black Lives Matter march last month

He then contacted Ms Reid through social media and they worked together on the statue, which was erected shortly before 05:00 BST.

Ms Reid said that the sculpture was important because it helped “keep the journey towards racial justice and equity moving”.

“On my way home from the protests on 7 June, I felt an overwhelming impulse to climb on to the plinth,” she said in a statement on Mr Quinn’s website.

“When I was stood there on the plinth, and raised my arm in a Black Power salute, it was totally spontaneous, I didn’t even think about it. It was like an electrical charge of power was running through me.

“This sculpture is about making a stand for my mother, for my daughter, for black people like me.”

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Bristol residents stopped to take photographs of the sculpture after it appeared on Wednesday morning

On 7 June, protesters used ropes to pull the Colston statue – which had been at the Bristol city centre site since 1895 – from its plinth.

It was dragged to the harbourside, where it was thrown into the water at Pero’s Bridge – named in honour of enslaved man Pero Jones who lived and died in the city.

Bristol City Council retrieved the statue, which will be displayed in a museum along with placards from the Black Lives Matter protest, from the water several days later.

Quinn’s previous works include self-portrait Self and a sculpture entitled Alison Lapper Pregnant, which was put on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

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