Debate has raged over what should replace the statue of slave trader Edward Colston after it was pulled from its plinth in Bristol by Black Lives Matter protestors last month. Yesterday it was secretly replaced by a 3D-printed statue of a protestor – but only for 24 hours.
Artist Marc Quinn installed his own statue of protestor Jen Reid without the knowledge of city officials in the early hours of yesterday morning. Quinn's statue was 3D-printed, then cast in resin (check out our best 3D modelling software if you're inspired to create something of your own).
Reid had been photographed standing on the empty plinth after Colston's statue was pulled down, posing defiantly with her first raised. Inspired by the photo (and with "a lot of organising"), Quinn invited Reid to his studio, where the same defiant pose was captured by over 200 cameras.
“When I saw the picture of Jen on Instagram, I immediately thought it would be great to immortalise that moment," Quinn told the Guardian (opens in new tab). "The image is a silhouette: she looked like a sculpture already. I’ve been making portraits of refugees using 3D scanning over the last year and applied the same technology to this.” Quinn called his work 'A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020'.
I understand people want expression, but the statue has been put up without permission.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. https://t.co/dEsZF9kNRtJuly 15, 2020
But less than 24 hours after it was erected, Quinn's statue has already been removed. "This morning we removed the sculpture," Bristol City Council said in a statement today. "It will be held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection." Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees also tweeted (above) that what replaces Colston's statue "must be decided by the people of Bristol" (Quinn is based in London).
Marc Quinn isn't the only artist to have had their say on what should sit atop the plinth (although he's certainly the first to turn that vision into a reality). Mysterious street artist Banksy recently shared his own concept (above), suggesting reinstating Colston's statue with the addition of protestors pulling him down – to keep "everyone happy".
The creative community has come together in solidarity with Black Lives Matter in the fight against racism. Take a look at these examples of creative projects supporting the movement, as well as information on how you can help.