A statue of Jen Reid – a Black Lives Matter protester, placed on the plinth where a 17th-century slave trader was placed, has been removed.
Artist Marc Quinn created the resin and steel likeness of Jen Reid. During the Black lives matter protest, she was photographed standing with a raised fist on the pedestal. The pedestal that once held the statue of slave merchant Edward Colston; which was pulled down and dumped in Bristol’s harbor on June 7.
The statue of Jen Reid was erected on Wednesday without the approval of city authorities. As a result, it was removed by those same authorities early Thursday, carted away in a waste-removal truck. Bristol City Council said the sculpture “will be held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection.”
The toppling of Colston’s statue was part of a worldwide statement against racism and slavery. It was sparked by the death of George Floyd, at the hands of police brutality in Minneapolis in May. However, City authorities fished the Colston statue out of the harbor and say it will be placed in a museum. This will be done alongside with placards from the Black Lives Matter demonstration.
What Happens To The Sculpture Of Jen Reid?
Mayor Marvin Rees, who is the first Black leader of Bristol, said the decision about what replaces the statue of Colston must be made by the people of the city, not an artist from London. “There were people in Bristol who were elated that Colston got pulled down. While some people were sympathetic that the Colston statue got pulled down, they were dismayed by the way it happened. There were people who feel they have lost a bit of themselves in the statue being pulled down”
He continued; “None of those people are going anywhere. We all still live in the city together and we have to find a way of leading Bristol that actually shows everyone that they are respected even if they don’t get what they want.”
Bristol Council said officials would speak to Quinn about what should happen to his artwork. He has said that if it is sold, profits will be donated to educational charities chosen by Jen Reid.
On the other hand, the speed at which the sculpture was removed disappointed people who had heard about the new statue and wanted to see it. Activist Deasy Bamford made reference to a decades-long dispute over the presence of the Colston statue. She said so while expressing her anger over the quick removal.
“It took them 35 years to do nothing and 24 hours to do something; that says something. However, I understand that they are playing a role, so hopefully, that statue will go somewhere in another iconic spot where everyone will see it where there is a proper plaque which explains exactly why it was put up and it belongs to Bristol.”