London – The statue of a slave trader who was demolished andLast month in Bristol, England, a sculpture of a Black Lives Matter protester was replaced overnight with a fist raised to the sky. The new statue of Jen Reid, which helped demolish the 17th century merchant Edward Colston’s statue in June and was photographed in the same pose, was secretly installed by the team of artist Marc Quinn on Wednesday at dawn.
Under the work was a cardboard sign that said “Black lives are still important”, which the artist titled “A power surge (Jen Reid) 2020”
The city of Bristol has not yet officially decided what to do with the pedestal on which Colston’s statue previously stood, and it was unclear on Wednesday how long the new statue could stay in place. In a statement, the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said the installation was built without permission.
“We have set up a history commission that will help us tell our entire city history,” Rees said in a statement. “If we learn about this broader story, including the role black people, women, the working class, unions and children play among others, we will be able to better understand who we are, how we got here and who we wish to honor. “
Quinn and Reid, who worked together on the work, said the installation should be temporary.
“When I stood on the base there and raised my arm in a Black Power salute, it was completely spontaneous, I didn’t even think about it,” said Reid in a statement about the work. “It was like an electric charge of electricity was flowing through me. My immediate thoughts were for the enslaved people who died from Colston and to give them power. I wanted to give power to George Floyd, I wanted to give power to black people like I who have suffered from injustice and inequality. A power surge for all of them, “she said.
“It’s such a powerful picture of a moment that I thought would have to be materialized forever,” Quinn said in a statement. He said he contacted Reid through social media after seeing the photo of her about the idea of a sculpture and agreeing to work together.
After George Floyd’s murder in Minnesota, Black Lives is Matterin cities across the UK. In Bristol, the demonstrators disfigured the statue of the slave dealer Colston, who had been standing in a central square, and pulled it down, dragged it to the harbor and threw it into the river. It was finally retrieved, and conservationists say it will be taken to a museum where the graffiti of the protest remains.
“Jen and I don’t put this sculpture on the pedestal as a permanent solution to what should be there – it’s a spark that we hope will help draw attention to this important and pressing problem. We want to further highlight the unacceptable problem of institutionalized and systemic racism that everyone has to face, “said Quinn.
“This sculpture is about standing up for my mother, my daughter, and black people like me,” said Reid. “It’s about black kids seeing it up there. It’s something to be proud of having a sense of belonging because we actually belong here and don’t go anywhere.”