The statue of a Black Lives Matter protester, which replaced a slave trader’s statue in Bristol, was removed at dawn on Thursday about 24 hours after it was installed, according to the city council.
The large black steel piece depicts Jen Reid, a protester who was photographed with her fist raised on the empty pedestal of the former statue of Edward Colston, a late 17th-century slave trader.
Entitled “A Surge of Power,” the sculpture by Marc Quinn had been installed on that very pedestal, without the knowledge of Bristol City Council.
“This morning we removed the sculpture,” a Bristol City Council spokeswomen said, adding that “it will be held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection.”
“This is not about taking down a statue of Jen, who is a very impressive woman,” said Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees. “This is about taking down a statue of a London-based artist who came and put it up without permission.”
Colston’s sculpture had been unbolted and thrown into the river in early June during demonstrations by the Black Lives Matter movement following the death in late May of George Floyd, a black American killed by a policeman.
The protests had been accompanied by a series of statues of public figures being defaced on the grounds of their involvement in the slave trade or racist statements.
Edward Colston got rich in the slave trade. He is said to have sold 100,000 West African slaves in the Caribbean and the Americas between 1672 and 1689, before using his fortune to finance the development of Bristol, which long earned him a reputation as a philanthropist.
The Brussels Times