Black Lives Matter Statue Unveiled In 'Secret Mission' Replacing Toppled Colston Figure

15 July 2020, 13:09

Colston statue replaced with Black Lives Matter protester in Bristol
Colston statue replaced with Black Lives Matter protester in Bristol. Picture: Getty Images

Edward Colston's toppled statue has been replaced with the figure of a Black Lives Matter protestor in Bristol after the plinth stood empty for a month.

The statue of slave trader Edward Colston has been replaced overnight by a figure of a Black Lives Matter protester, Jen Reid, who originally stood atop the empty plinth after the statue was toppled during the protests last month.

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The new sculpture, called 'A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020' by artist Marc Quinn, re-enacts the moment the protestor stood atop the plinth after the statue was torn down and she herself posed next to it as it was erected.

The plan had been hatched in secret over the past few weeks and a team of 10 worked in the early hours to erect the statue.

However, Bristol's mayor, Marvin Rees, issued a statement saying that 'the future of the plinth and what is installed on it must be decided by the people of Bristol'.

He said as the sculpture was "the work and decision of a London-based artist it was not requested and permission was not given for it to be installed."

There was fierce debate surrounding what should happen with the statue and the empty space, with Bristol native Banksy even offering up one solution of telling the story of Colston's toppling with a series of statues pulling it down with a rope around his neck.

He proposed: "Here’s an idea that caters for both those who miss the Colston statue and those who don’t."

"We drag him out the water, put him back on the plinth, tie cable round his neck and commission some life size bronze statues of protestors in the act of pulling him down. Everyone happy. A famous day commemorated."

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