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Bristol's Colston statue replaced with Black Lives Matter protester

THE empty plinth in Bristol where the statue of slave trader Edward Colston used to stand was filled today with a sculpture of a Black Lives Matter protester after a secret dawn operation. 

The figure of Bristolian Jen Reid, who was photographed standing on the plinth in June after Colston’s statue was pulled down by anti-racism protesters, was created by artist Marc Quinn and erected without the council’s permission. 

Ms Reid said that the new statue was about “making a stand for my mother, for my daughter, for black people like me.”

She added: “Creating this sculpture is so important as it helps keep the journey towards racial justice and equity moving, because black lives matter every day.”

Responding to the erection of the statue, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said the future of the plinth “must be decided by the people of Bristol,” noting that Mr Quinn is a “London-based artist.” 

Mr Rees had previously said that any decision on how the plinth should be used would be decided democratically through public consultation.

The statue was driven from Mr Quinn’s studio on Tuesday night and quickly put in place using a crane lorry before the operation could be disrupted.

The idea was conceived after the artist saw a photo on Instagram of Ms Reid standing on the plinth, which led him to contact her.

“It is such a powerful image, of a moment I felt had to be materialised forever,” he said. 

“The plinth of Edward Colston in Bristol seems the right place to share this sculpture about the fight against racism, which is undoubtedly the other virus facing society today.”

However, he added that the sculpture was “not a permanent artwork.”

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