Statue of U.K. Slave Trader Replaced with One of Black Lives Matter Protester

The statue of a slave trader that was torn down and thrown into a river last month in Bristol, England, was replaced overnight by a sculpture of a Black Lives Matter protester with a fist raised to the sky. The new statue of Jen Reid, who helped pull down the statue of 17th-century merchant Edward Colston in June and was photographed in the same pose, was secretly installed by the team of artist Marc Quinn at dawn on Wednesday. 

A cardboard sign saying “Black lives still matter” was placed beneath the work, which the artist titled “A surge of power (Jen Reid) 2020.”

The city of Bristol has not yet officially decided what to do with the plinth on which Colston’s statue previously stood, and it was unclear Wednesday how long the new statue might remain in the spot. In a statement, Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, said that the installation had been put up without permission.

“We have established a history commission which will help us tell our full city history,” Rees said in a statement. “As we learn this fuller history including the part played by black people, women, the working class, trade unions, and children among others, we will be in a better position to understand who we are, how we got here and who we wish to honour.”

Quinn and Reid, who collaborated on the work, have said the installation was intended to be temporary.

Statue Of BLM Protester Placed On Colston Plinth In Bristol
Black Lives Matter protestor Jen Reid poses for a photograph in front of a sculpture of herself, by local artist Marc Quinn, on the plinth where the Edward Colston statue used to stand on July 15, 2020 in Bristol, England. Getty Images