News July 16, 2020 at 09:00 am

Black Lives Matter protester statue replacing effigy of UK slave trader removed

Mohammed Awal July 16, 2020 at 09:00 am

July 16, 2020 at 09:00 am | News

Image via SWNS

A figure of a Black Lives Matter protester installed to replace the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol has been removed. The statue of Jen Reid, photographed standing on the plinth with her fist raised after the bronze figure of the 17th-century slave trader was pulled down by anti-racism protesters, was erected early Wednesday where Colston’s effigy was toppled.

Council contractors were seen removing Reid’s figure at around 5.20 am on Thursday, according to a Sky News report. This comes after the city’s Mayor Marvin Rees said the statue did not have permission to be installed, warning in a tweet that: “Anything put on the plinth outside of the process we’ve put in place will have to be removed.”

Reid’s statue was erected at dawn by a team directed by the artist Marc Quinn, The Guardian reported.

“Racism,” Quinn said, “is a huge problem, a virus that needs to be addressed. I hope this sculpture will continue that dialogue, keep it in the forefront of people’s minds, be an energy conductor.”

Quinn’s hopes were, however, cut shot as the sculpture of Black Lives Matter protester Reid was only in place for one day, after it was installed in secret. 

“This morning we removed the sculpture. It will be held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection,” the Bristol City Council said in a statement. 

Mayor Rees also told Sky News Quinn may have to repay the council for the cost of removing his work. “We welcome the provocation in many ways, but you also need to be an adult and take full responsibility for what you do.

“We need to make sure public services in Bristol do not pay the price for this,” Rees said.

In an earlier statement, Rees said the future of the plinth and what is installed on it must be decided by the people of Bristol. 

Last month demonstrators in Bristol in Southwest England tied a rope to the Grade II-listed statue on Colston Avenue before tumbling it to the floor. The crowd jumped and cheered as the effigy of the notorious slave trader came crushing to the ground. They later bowled it down the street and dump it into Bristol Harbor.

“I know the removal of the Colston Statue will divide opinion, as the statue itself has done for many years. However, it’s important to listen to those who found the statue to represent an affront to humanity,” Rees said of the action of the protesters.

For many years, the bronze statue of Colston has been a source of controversy and tension. A member of the Royal African Company, Colston’s company was involved in the transportation of about 100,000 slaves from West Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas between 1672 and 1689, “cramming them into ships to maximize profit,” The Guardian reported.

The pulling down of Colston’s statue followed the toppling down of several Confederate statues during Black Lives Matter protests in the US in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

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