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Artist secretly replaced slave trader's statue with sculpture of Black protester

Artist secretly replaced slave trader's statue with sculpture of Black protester
© Getty Images

An artist secretly replaced a slave trader’s statue that was torn down by demonstrators in Bristol, England, with a sculpture of a Black Lives Matter protester, Jen Reid

The sculpture of Reid, created by Marc Quinn, was inspired after he saw an image of Reid standing on the plinth of the now-toppled statue with her fist raised during a June 7 rally, The New York Times reported.

Her husband posted the image and was later contacted by Quinn.

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The demonstration was one of several across the world to protest the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. 

At that same protest, Reid was one of several protesters who tore down the statue of Edward Colston, a British slave trader. The sculpture of Reid, a Black woman, now stands where Colston’s statue was. 

Quinn, a prominent British sculptor, told the Times he worked with 10 people to get the sculpture finished and erected by this week. 

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“She created this iconic image,” Quinn told the Times. “I’m just amplifying the moment she created.”

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees told the BBC the statue did not have permission to be installed. After the statue of Colston was toppled and thrown into the city’s harbor, Rees asked for it to be fished out and kept until city leaders decide what to do with it. 

Reid, who works as a fashion stylist, told the BBC the sculpture helps "keep the journey towards racial justice and equality moving.”

"This sculpture is about making a stand for my mother, for my daughter, for Black people like me,” she said.