The plinth that once held a statue of notorious Bristol slave trader Edward Colston is empty no more – artist Marc Quinn has erected a sculpture of a Black Lives Matter protestor in its place.

Quinn cast the figure of Jen Reid – who was photographed standing on the empty plinth after the Colston statue was torn down – in black resin and installed it in the early hours of the morning in Bristol city centre, with help from Mtec.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I’d first like to thank Jen for collaborating with me on A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020 at every point in the process of making this new temporary public artwork. The sculpture’s title comes from Jen’s powerful description of her experience of standing on the plinth: “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.” I would also like to thank @mtec0 for the amazing job that they did with their swift and safe installation, in the early hours of this morning. #marcquinnart

A post shared by marcquinnart (@marcquinnart) on

The temporary artwork is named ‘A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020’. Its title echoes Reid’s description of the experience standing on the plinth.

‘It was like an electrical charge of power was running through me,’ she said. ‘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.’

View this post on Instagram

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

A post shared by marcquinnart (@marcquinnart) on

Reid collaborated closely with Quinn on the artwork, which has gained widespread support online but was installed without permission from the council, meaning its future is uncertain.

Says Bristol Mayor Marvin Reeves: ‘Anything put on the plinth outside of the process we’ve put in place will have to be removed. The people of Bristol will decide its future.’

Watch this space.

Racist monuments are toppling across the world

A 50-ft-tall Black Lives Matter mural appears next to the White House

Artist Leon Keer ‘gift wraps’ a building in France’s Morlaix

Latest Stories

Latest

Share Tweet
+