bristol statue
"A Surge of Power (Jen Reid)". Photo: Disclosure.

A Jen Reid's black resin sculpture was erected on Wednesday, July 15th, but removed by the Bristol City Council, in southwest England, in the early hours of Thursday, the 16th. Mayor Marvin Rees said it's up to the people of Bristol decide what will replace the Colston statue.

Chamada A Surge of Power, the work was created by artist Marc Quinn and designed to be a temporary installation to continue the debate about racism reignited by the murder of George Floyd in the United States. The artist said he was inspired to create it after seeing an image of Jen Reid standing on the empty plinth where the statue of Edward Colston once stood. Colston statue was toppled and thrown into a river in early June during an anti-racist demonstration, act in which Reid was present. Colston was a British slave trader and member of Parliament who lived in the 19th century. It is estimated that he was involved in the deaths of around XNUMX black enslaved people in the Americas and the Caribbean in that same century. In Bristol, a street and several buildings are named after him.

One of the declaration released by the artist explains that the new statue was not intended as a permanent solution, but as a way of attracting continued attention to the anti-racist movement. In her text, Quinn also states that the sculpture is non-profit and, if sold, the proceeds will be donated to two institutions chosen by Jen Reid: Cargo Classroom, a black history program created for teenagers in Bristol, and The Black. Curriculum, a social enterprise founded in 2019 by young people to fill the black British history gap in the UK. There is also the possibility of the work being donated to the Bristol Municipal Art Collection.

“We want to continue highlighting the unacceptable problem of institutionalized and systemic racism that everyone has a duty to face,” the artist said in the statement. “This sculpture had to be placed in the public domain now: this is not a new issue, but it looks like there has been a global tipping point. It's time for direct action now,” he adds.

Regarding the removal, the city of Bristol explained that the sculpture was installed at the artist's decision, without request or permission to do so. The city is currently putting together a process to determine what will be done with the pedestal that supported the Colston statue. “The people will decide their future,” Mayor Marvin Rees said on Twitter. 

Read also na virtual edition #51 de arte!brasileiros, indigenous lawyer and activist Naiara Tukano writes about the monuments and their relationship with indigenous peoples. "All this madness that we see day and night in our country is reflecting the great fake news that history books, monuments, street names tell, silencing the tragedies they committed to perpetuate in power”, she puts. The critic Fabio Cypriano also addresses the issue and proposes the reflection: “What to do with the monuments of exaltation to the pioneers?”. Already the columnist of arte!brasileiros Tadeu Chiraelli elaborated a series of thoughts surrounding the subject, they can be accessed here.

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