Edward Colston statue secretly replaced with sculpture of Black Lives Matter protestor

Last month Black Lives Matter protesters tore down a bronze statue of slave trader Edward Colton in Bristol. Protestors toppled the sculpture, which had stood on Colston Avenue since 1895 as a memorial to his philanthropic works, and pushed it into the docks. Until last night the spot remained empty, but it has now been filled with a monument of protestor Jen Reid.

Ms Reid took part in the Black Lives Matter protests in Bristol and a sculpture of her has been erected on the plinth where the statue of Mr Colton used to stand.

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

The new statue, which is made of black and resin steel, recreates the image and shows Ms Reid raising her fist in the air – the Black Power salute.

Artist Marc Quinn said the sculpture, called A Surge of Power, did not have formal consent from officials.

The statue was installed shortly before 5am this morning, without the prior knowledge of Bristol City Council.

A team of 10 people, led by the artist, worked in secret to put the sculpture in Bristol’s city centre.

The large statue was transported in two lorries and was up within 15 minutes with the use of a hydraulic crane truck.

A cardboard placard reading ‘Black Lives still Matter’ was also placed at the base.

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“I can’t see it coming down in a hurry.”

She added: “I think it’s something the people of Bristol really appreciate seeing.”

Ms Reid said the decision to climb on the plinth during the protests was totally spontaneous.

She said: “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.”

Mr Quinn said the sculpture was meant as a temporary installation to continue the conversation about racism and did not know how long it would remain in place.

On June 7 protestors ripped down the statue of Mr Colston and dragged it a third of a mile and threw it into the Bristol harbour.

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.

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