An artist has erected a statue of a Black Lives Matter protester atop the plinth in the English city of Bristol once occupied by the toppled statue of a slave trader
LONDON — An artist has erected a statue of a Black Lives Matter protester atop the plinth in the English city of Bristol once occupied by the toppled statue of a slave trader.
Marc Quinn created the likeness of Jen Reid, a protester photographed standing on the plinth after demonstrators pulled down the statue of Edward Colston and dumped it in Bristol’s harbor on June 7.
The statue, titled “A Surge of Power (Jen Reid)” was erected before dawn on Wednesday without approval from city officials.
Colston was a 17th-century trader who made a fortune transporting enslaved Africans across the Atlantic to the Americas. His money funded schools and charities in Bristol, 120 miles (195 kilometers) southwest of London.
The toppling of his statue is part of a worldwide reckoning with racism and slavery sparked by the death of a Black American man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis, in May.
Quinn, one of Britain’s best-known sculptors, said Reid had “created the sculpture when she stood on the plinth and raised her arm in the air. Now we’re crystallizing it.”
Reid told The Guardian newspaper that the new statue was “incredible” and would help “continue the conversation.”
City authorities fished the Colston statue out of the harbor and say it will be placed in a museum, along with placards from the Black Lives Matter demonstration.