After Slaver's Statue Came Down, This Went Up

Statue of Black Lives Matter protester erected in Bristol, England
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2020 8:04 AM CDT
Where Statue of Slave Trader Once Stood, This
Jen Reid poses in front of the new black resin and steel statue portraying her, entitled "A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020" by artist Marc Quinn.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

A plinth that held the statue of a 17th-century slave trader before it was toppled last month now holds a statue of one of the people who helped bring it down. Jen Reid, a Black Lives Matter protester, was photographed standing on the plinth with her fist raised after Edward Colston's statue was thrown down in Bristol, England, on June 7. Now that photograph is immortalized in a black resin and steel statue from the artist Mark Quinn, erected at dawn on Wednesday. A team of 10 people, working with a crane, completed the unauthorized installation in just 15 minutes. "It came as a complete surprise to the authorities, who are yet to announce their plans for the location," reports the Guardian. "It gives me goose pimples," Reid tells the outlet. It's "about making a stand for my mother, for my daughter, for Black people like me," she adds, per the BBC.

Reid attended the protest with her husband, who helped roll Colston's statue to Bristol Harbor, where it was thrown in, per the Guardian. The statue has since been retrieved and is likely to find a home in the Bristol Museum. Quinn says the city will eventually decide on what to do with the plinth in the city center. But "it seemed to us it was time for direct action." After seeing the photograph, the white artist reached out to Reid on social media. "I was in his studio by the Friday after the protest with 201 cameras surrounding me, taking pictures of me from every conceivable angle," she tells the BBC. She says the temporary statue, titled "A Surge of Power," is the perfect way to capture a "totally spontaneous" moment. "This is going to continue the conversation," she adds, per the Guardian. "I can't see it coming down in a hurry." (More statue stories.)

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