When Black Lives Matter protesters took down the statue of English merchant Edward Colston in Bristol last month, many celebrated the news while others disapproved. This morning, Wednesday 15 July, the empty spot where the statue used to be was replaced with a sculpture of one of the protesters whose anger brought Colston down.
The figure of Jen Reid, who was photographed standing with her fist raised after the merchant’s statue was toppled by Black Lives Matter protesters, was erected just before 5 a.m. by a team directed by the artist Marc Quinn.
According to The Guardian, Quinn’s team of ten people arrived in two lorries and worked quickly to install the figure of Reid, who said she had been secretly working with the artist on the idea for weeks. It also came as a complete surprise to the authorities. “A cardboard placard reading “black lives still matter” was placed at the bottom of the plinth,” adds The Guardian.
Shortly after the team left the location, Reid stood in front of the statue with her fist in the air. The meticulous planning behind erecting the statue before officials arrived meant the vehicles left the scene about 15 minutes after they first got there.
By 8 a.m. a crowd of commuters was gathered to take pictures and discuss the statue but there was still no sign of the council or police. The new sculpture, titled A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020, is likely to reignite the debate on whether it was right to take down the Colston statue five weeks ago.
While the team behind the sculpture is confident it has broken no laws, people are now expecting Bristol police and council’s response.