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Edward Colston's statue stood for 125 years. The Black Lives Matter statue that replaced it stood for about 25 hours

Updated 16th July 2020
Edward Colston's statue stood for 125 years. The Black Lives Matter statue that replaced it stood for about 25 hours
Written by Rob Picheta, CNNLondon
A statue of a Black Lives Matter protester in Bristol, England, secretly installed overnight on the plinth where a monument to a slave trader had previously stood, has been removed by the local authority.
British artist Marc Quinn erected a sculpture of activist Jen Reid in the early hours of Wednesday morning, weeks after protesters tore down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston and sparked a debate about colonial memory that reverberated worldwide.
But the impromptu display, set up without the knowledge of Bristol's council, lasted just one day before being taken down and moved to a museum.
"This morning we removed the sculpture. It will be held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection," Bristol City Council tweeted Thursday.
Jen Reid poses by the statue on Wednesday.
Jen Reid poses by the statue on Wednesday. Credit: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
The city's mayor Marvin Rees had previously said that "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 sympathize 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," he added in a statement on Wednesday.
Quinn's artwork depicted Reid with her fist raised in a Black Power salute, mimicking a picture from June 7 of her atop the empty plinth where the original Colston statue once stood.
After contacting Reid, the artist produced a life-sized sculpture of the moment using black resin. In a press statement released Wednesday, he said that the sculpture "is an embodiment and amplification of Jen's ideas and experiences, and of the past, present and her hope for a better future."
Protestors calling for the removal of the statue of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes outside Oriel Cllege at the University of Oxford, two days after Colston's statue was removed.
Protestors calling for the removal of the statue of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes outside Oriel Cllege at the University of Oxford, two days after Colston's statue was removed. Credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
The work, officially titled "A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020," was intended to be temporary. The artist confirmed that he did not receive permission from authorities to erect the statue. Should the artwork be sold, Quinn said that profits will be donated to two charities, chosen by Reid, that promote the inclusion of Black history in school curricula.
But the sculpture has caused a divide in the art world, with some suggesting that the intervention of a White, London-based artist is unhelpful to the wider Black Lives Matter movement.
British artist Thomas J Price, who has been commissioned to create a public artwork in London honoring the Windrush generation, wrote on Twitter that Quinn had created a "Votive statue to appropriation."
But author Bernardine Evaristo commended the work and suggested it be erected again elsewhere. "Now it has to find a public spot. If Bristol doesn't have the guts, I nominate Brixton," she said on Twitter.
The actions of the protesters sparked a national conversation in the UK about what should be done with statues, monuments and street names dedicated to slave traders and imperialists around the country.
That debate spread worldwide, with statues of colonialist King Leopold II being removed in Belgium and a number of relics of the Confederacy being replaced in the United States.
The original Colston monument, which was fished out of a river by authorities after being dumped there by protesters, will be placed in a museum alongside placards from the protest.