Marc Quinn's Black Lives Matter sculpture removed by Bristol council

Statue that replaced toppled monument to slave trader Edward Colston has polarised opinion

Marc Quinn's A Surge of Power (Jen Reid), 2020, was installed on Tuesday night © Marc Quinn studio

Bristol City Council has removed Marc Quinn’s sculpture of Black Lives Matter protestor Jen Reid, which was installed yesterday on the plinth previously occupied by the 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston. The council said in a tweet: “This morning we removed the sculpture. It will be held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection.”

The work, entitled A Surge of Power (Jen Reid), 2020, was installed yesterday morning without council permission. Bristol mayor Marvin Rees added that “the future of the plinth and what is installed on it must be decided by the people of Bristol”.

The sculpture polarised opinion; Osei Bonsu, the curator of international art at Tate, said on Instagram: “Well done to [Marc Quinn] and all those involved in this historic gesture of defiance… I’d encourage any artist who wants to challenge and correct the record.”

But the Ghanaian British artist Larry Achiampong said on social media that “the situation with the Marc Quinn sculpture is a sad joke. The point of all this is about the redistribution of equity, of power.” He added that Quinn should instead fund a work by a black artist which could go on the empty plinth. At the time of writing, Quinn had not responded to a request for comment about his plans for the work.