Black Lives Matter Protester Replaces Torn Down Slave Trader Edward Colston Statue In Bristol
A statue of a Black Lives Matter protester has replaced a monument honouring slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol.
The sculpture of Colston stood on a pedestal in the centre of the city for 125 years, but last month activists tied ropes around the figure and pulled it to the ground during protests against racism.
Crowds carried the controversial statue to Bristol’s harbour and tossed it into the sea, and the plinth on which it had been displayed remained empty for some weeks. Now, it is home to a sculpture of protester Jen Reid.
Artist Marc Quinn created the tribute after seeing a picture of a triumphant Jen standing on the empty plinth in the hours after the Colston statue was removed. The new creation shows her standing proudly with one fist in the air; a stance which has become symbolic of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Marc created the statue, titled A Surge of Power, out of black resin and it was installed in Bristol city centre in the early hours of this morning, July 15. The sculpture does not have formal consent from city officials, so the artist has dubbed it a ‘temporary public installation’, BBC News reports.
After seeing the photo of Jen during the protest, Marc contacted her on social media and they worked together to come up with the sculpture. Jen said the tribute is important because it helps ‘keep the journey towards racial justice and equity moving’.
Jen commented on the sculpture and its inspiration in a post on Marc’s blog, writing:
On my way home from the protests on 7 June, I felt an overwhelming impulse to climb on to the plinth.
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. It’s about Black children seeing it up there. It’s something to feel proud of, to have a sense of belonging, because we actually do belong here and we’re not going anywhere.
Despite the efforts of protesters to get rid of the Colston statue for good, it was later retrieved from the water by Bristol City Council. It is now set to be displayed in a museum alongside placards from the Black Lives Matter protest.
Though it has only been on display for a matter of hours, Marc’s creation has already received a lot of praise online, with social media users describing the tribute as ‘brilliant’ and ‘beautiful’.
As A Surge of Power has not received official consent, it is unclear how long it will remain on display.
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