A new statue of a Black Lives Matter protester has been secretly erected on the Bristol plinth previously occupied by the statue of slave trader Edward Colston. Do you think the statue should stay or go? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
A sculpture of a Black Lives Matter protester has been secretly erected on the Bristol plinth previously occupied by the statue of slave trader Edward Colston.
A figure of protester Jen Reid was erected in the early hours of today (Wednesday, July 15) where its predecessor was toppled.
Ms Reid had been photographed standing on the empty plinth after the Colston statue was brought down during a march last month.
The artist Marc Quinn said it was a new temporary public installation called A Surge of Power and no formal consent for it had been sought.
Mayor Marvin Rees tweeted: “I understand people want expression, but the statue has been put up without permission.
“Anything put on the plinth outside of the process we’ve put in place will have to be removed. The people of Bristol will decide its future.”
Ms Reid said: “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.
“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.”
She said she had since collaborated with Mr Quinn on the project as he “cares about pushing inclusion to the forefront of people’s minds and uses his art to make people think”.
Mr Quinn said: “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.”
The ambush sculpture looks set to reignite the debate over public statues in the UK that began when the Colston figure – now bound for a museum – was thrown in Bristol Harbour.