Statue of Black Lives Matter protester Jen Reid replaces ousted Bristol slave trader Edward Colston

An artist has erected a statue of a Black Lives Matter protester on the pedestal formerly occupied by a statue of a slave trader in the English city of Bristol.

Marc Quinn created the life-size resin and steel likeness of Jen Reid, a protester who was photographed on the pedestal after protesters tore down the statue of Edward Colston and dumped it in Bristol Harbor on June 7.

The statue, titled “A Surge of Power (Jen Reid)” was erected before dawn Wednesday without permission from city officials.

Reid, who came to inspect their likeness, said, “It’s something I’m proud of.”

“I think it’s amazing,” she said. “It looks like it belongs there. It looks like it has always been there.”

Colston was a 17th-century trader who made a fortune transporting enslaved Africans across the Atlantic to America on Bristol-based ships. His money funded schools and charities in Bristol, 120 miles southwest of London.

The toppling of his statue was part of a global reckoning on racism and slavery sparked by the May death of a black American, George Floyd, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Quinn, one of Britain’s best-known sculptors, said Reid “created the sculpture as she stood on the plinth and raised her arm in the air. Now we crystallize them out.”

City authorities fished the Colston statue out of the harbor and said it would be placed in a museum along with posters from the Black Lives Matter demonstration.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees questioned whether the new statue would be allowed to stay, noting that it was “the work and decision of a London-based artist”.

“The future of the pedestal and what will be installed on it will have to be decided by the people of Bristol,” he said in a statement.

“This will be crucial to building a city that is home to those who are happy about the statue’s demolition, those who sympathize with its removal but are dismayed by how it happened and those who feel.” that through their distance they have lost a piece of Bristol that they know, and with it themselves.”

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Statue of Black Lives Matter protester Jen Reid replaces ousted Bristol slave trader Edward Colston

Dais Johnston

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