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BLM Figure Replaces Colston Statue in Bristol


In June, Black Lives Matter protesters in Bristol targeted the statue of merchant parliamentarian Edward Colston over his ties to the slave trade. The statue was toppled from its plinth in a outpouring of mob justice, before being dragged through the streets while being ceremonially beaten, before ultimately pushing it in the harbour, as local police stood back and watched.

Early on Wednesday morning, a group of ten people mounted a statue memorialising a Black Lives Matter activist, Jen Reid, who climbed upon the empty plinth during the chaos last month.

The sculpture, A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020, made by London artist Marc Quinn has now taken the place of Colston. Despite the significant construction crew including a lorry-mounted crane to facilitate installation, the artist did not officially receive permission from the city of Bristol to erect the BLM statue, according to the Bristol Post.

The subject of Quinn’s statue, Jen Reid, told the BBC that: “I think it’s something the people of Bristol really appreciate seeing.”

“When I was stood there on the plinth, and raised my arm in a Black Power salute, it was totally spontaneous,” she said, adding: “I didn’t even think about it. It was like an electrical charge of power was running through me.”

“This sculpture is about making a stand for my mother, for my daughter, for black people like me,” she proclaimed.

Quinn said: “Jen created the sculpture when she stood on the plinth and raised her arm in the air. Now we’re crystallising it.”