Black Lives Matter Protester Replaces Torn Down Slave Trader Edward Colston Statue In Bristol Brian RaleighPublished in July 2020 / Updated in January 2021 An artist replaced slave traders Edward Colston’s statue with a sculpture of a Black Lives Matter protester. Last month, protesters toppled a statue of the 18th-century merchant in Bristol. They then dragged and tossed it into the city’s harbor. Since then, the plinth upon which the statue had stood for over 125 years remained empty. On July 15, a team of 10 people installed a figure of Jen Reid in Colston’s place. British artist Marc Quinn created this statue. It depicts a woman with her fist raised in a Black Power salute. The artist based the sculpture on a photograph of Jen Reid, a Bristol resident who climbed atop the empty plinth after demonstrators removed Colston’s statue. After contacting Reid, Marc produced a life-sized sculpture of the moment using black resin and steel. In a press statement, Marc said: “[The sculpture] is an embodiment and amplification of Jen’s ideas and experiences… It presents her hope for a better future.” The artwork, officially titled “A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020,” was “temporary,” Marc told BBC. He also confirmed he didn’t receive permission from authorities to erect the statue. Should the activists sell the artwork, they’ll donate the profits to charities promoting Black history in school curricula. Reid commented on the sculpture and its inspiration in a post on Marc’s blog, writing: “On my way home from the protests on June 7, I felt an overwhelming impulse to climb on the plinth.”“When I stood there on the plinth and raised my arm in a Black Power salute, it was totally spontaneous.”“I didn’t even think about it. It was like an electrical charge of power was running through me.”“This sculpture is about making a stand for my mother, for my daughter, for Black people like me.”“It’s about Black children seeing it up there.”“It’s something to feel proud of, and have a sense of belonging because we actually belong here… we’re not going anywhere.” Reid also told The Guardian that the statue was “incredible” and would help “continue the conversation.” Unfortunately, the Bristol city council later removed the sculpture. They claimed the activists erected the statue without city official’s consent. According to Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, any decision on how to use the plinth would be decided democratically through consultation. Though Jen Reid’s statue was on display for about 24 hours, it has received lots of praise online. Many social media users describe it as ‘brilliant’ and ‘beautiful’ tribute.