The statue of a Black Lives Matter protester that appeared on a plinth formerly occupied by a statue of a slave trader has been removed after just one day.
According to CBS News, Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, said the statue of a female protester with her fist raised to the sky, which appeared early Wednesday morning, had been put up without permission.
“We have established a history commission which will help us tell our full city history,” Rees said in a statement. “As we learn this fuller history including the part played by Black people, women, the working class, trade unions, and children among others, we will be in a better position to understand who we are, how we got here, and who we wish to honor.”
A statue of Edward Colston, a former slave trader, sat on the plinth from 1895 until June 7, when protesters pulled the statue down before throwing it into the River Avon.
— Sam (@SamuelLiddell) June 7, 2020
The statue of activist Jen Reid, who was part of the group that pulled down the Colston statue, was secretly installed by artist Marc Quinn’s team at dawn on Wednesday. Both Quinn and Reid said the installation was always meant to be temporary.
“When I was 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,” Reid said in a statement about the work. “It was like an electrical charge of power was running through me. My immediate thoughts were for the enslaved people who died at the hands of Colston and to give them power. I wanted to give George Floyd power, I wanted to give power to Black people like me who have suffered injustices and inequality. A surge of power out to them all.”
Quinn added the statue was meant to keep the conversation on race going.
“Jen and I are not putting this sculpture on the plinth as a permanent solution to what should be there,” Quinn said. “It’s a spark which we hope will help to bring continued attention to this vital and pressing issue. We want to keep highlighting the unacceptable problem of institutionalized and systemic racism that everyone has a duty to face up to.”