The statue of a Black Lives Matter protester named Jen Reid has been taken down just 24 hours after it was erected. The monument was put up on Wednesday morning (July 15) in Bristol, England and replaced the statue of British slave trader Edward Colston, which had been dumped in a harbor by protesters.
“We didn’t approach [Mayor] Marvin Rees or the council because it was about making an artwork which appears overnight and having a conversation,” the statue’s creator Marc Quinn told Bristol Live. “This statue is only going to be there for a little bit —there should be a democratic process. I was never suggesting it should be permanent.”
Although the statue was installed without the local government’s permission, many showed their enthusiasm for the monument and what it represented on social media. However, in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon (July 15), Mayor Marvin Rees said the permanent replacement for the Colston statue will need to be decided on by the Bristol community.
“To this end, the future of the plinth and what is installed on it must be decided by the people of Bristol. This will be critical to building a city that is home to those who are elated at the statue being pulled down, those who sympathise with its removal but are dismayed at how it happened and those who feel that in its removal, they’ve lost a piece of the Bristol they know and therefore themselves,” the statement read.
“We have set out a process to manage our journey. We have established a history commission which will help us tell our full city history. 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 honour,” the statement continued. “... As the commission shares this information, the city will decide on city memorials and the future of the plinth.”
The statue of Reid has reportedly been relocated to a museum, where sculptor Quinn can either retrieve it or donate it to the museum’s collection.
“When I watched Edward Colston get thrown into the water, I felt compelled to stand up there for George Floyd and the slaves who died at the hands of Colston,” Reid told Bristol Live about the moment she stood with her fist raised in the air, captured by her statue. “I think Marc really gets that across in the finished artwork.”
“It was never intended to be a permanent thing. Marvin and his people need to do what they need to do for the people of Bristol,” she added. “... The overall point [is] to keep Black Lives Matter at the forefront of people’s minds.”