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BLM protester statue replaces toppled slave trader

July 15, 2020

A statue of a woman in a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol has replaced a sculpture of slave trader Edward Colston. Anti-racism demonstrators tore down the Colston statue and threw it into the city's harbour.

A Surge of Power Statue in Bristol
Image: picture-alliance/empics/B. Birchall

Contemporary British artist Marc Quinn created a sculpture of a Black protester on the empty plinth where a statue of slave trader Edward Colston stood.

Anti-racism demonstrators toppled the statue of Colston during Black Lives Matter protests in British port city of Bristol last month.

The work, called "A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020," represents "a spontaneous moment following a Black Lives Matter protest" Quinn posted on Instagram next to a photograph of his work.

The life-sized sculpture, cast in black resin, shows local resident Jen Reid standing on the vacant plinth with her fist raised in a Black Power salute.

Read more: What should we do with controversial monuments?

Quinn said he made the sculpture after spotting a picture of Reid atop the pedestal on the photo-sharing and social media platform.

The sculpture was put up in the early hours of Wednesday by a team directed by the artist, reported British newspaper the Guardian.

No formal consent from the city of Bristol has been sought for the statue's installation, added Quinn.

A Surge of Power Statue in Bristol
Reid said she hopes the statue keeps the Black Lives Matter conversation goingImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Dunham

Read more: Opinion: Let's topple statues to decolonize

Statues targeted

Black Lives Matter and anti-racism protests took place in cities across the world in June, sparked by the death of Black man George Floyd while being detained and choked for nearly nine minutes by police in the US city of Minneapolis in May.

Statues of historical figures with imperialist or racist links were torn down during some of these demonstrations.

In addition to Colston, whose statue was dragged and then dumped in Bristol Harbor, protesters at South Africa's universities defaced colonial-era statues.

Protesters in the Netherlands also gathered to call for the removal of a statue of 17th-century colonial-era Dutch officer Jan Pieterszoon Coen.

In the United States, protesters toppled and set ablaze a statue of a Confederate general in Washington, DC, following nationwide rallies to mark Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the country.

kmm/sms (Reuters, AP)