The sculpture was an unauthorized replacement for the statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Black Lives Matter protesters removed Colston’s statue and toppled it into Bristol Harbor during demonstrations on June 7.
At 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 16, Bristol City Council contractors took down the resin and steel statue of Reid by artist Marc Quinn — as seen in the Instagram image below — 24 hours after its installation.
“The future of the plinth and what is installed on it must be decided by the people of Bristol,” Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said in a statement on behalf of the Bristol City Council.
“The sculpture that has been installed today was the work and decision of a London based artist. It was not requested and permission was not given for it to be installed,” he stated.
The statement also declared the council had established a history commission, in order to better learn the role Black people have played in the city’s past.
Rees previously called the destruction of Colston’s statue a “piece of historical poetry.”
The statue of Reid, named “A Surge of Power,” will be held at the Bristol museum for collection. Although it was up for just over 24 hours, the piece garnered controversy.
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Today, Bristol resident Jen Reid and I have unveiled a new temporary, public installation, ‘A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020’, on top of Edward Colston’s empty plinth in Bristol, England. This life-sized sculpture is based on an image I saw on Instagram of local resident Jen Reid standing on the vacant plinth with her fist raised in a Black Power salute, a spontaneous moment following a Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020. During the protest, a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston was toppled from this spot. Cast in black resin, this new sculpture ‘A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020’ takes its place – no formal consent has been sought for the installation. Read the full statement – link in bio. #blacklivesmatter #marcquinnart #5thplinth
While many applauded the statue, others raised questions as to why the sculpture — a symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement — had been produced by a white male artist.
Black British artist Larry Achiampong called the creation of the statue “a sad joke”, reported the Telegraph.
“The point of all of this is about the redistribution of equity, of power. So simply putting up a sculpture that, yes, looks way better, is not enough,” he said. “Sometimes the best thing you can do when you’re part of the problem is just stop.”
Quinn was inspired to create the work of art after seeing Reid standing on the empty plinth following the removal of Colston’s statue, as reported by The Inquisitr. He had been secretly working with Reid for weeks to create the sculpture, which was always intended to be a temporary piece.
“It’s just incredible. That’s pretty f*cking ballsy, that it is,” Reid said after viewing the completed statue.
The Telegraph reported that if the art piece is sold, profits will be donated to Cargo Classroom and The Black Curriculum, both charities chosen by Reid. The two charities aim to combat the lack of Black history being taught in U.K. schools.