This is the history we want celebrated and eternalized.
The world’s newest historical statue represents something we can all be proud of, and it’ll give you chills (the good kind).
You’re probably aware that in the aftermath of the protests regarding Black Lives Matter last month, statues of famous (white, male) historical figures have been dismantled all over the world due to their ties to slave ownership and trade. As these statues are either torn down by protestors or removed from the local government, empty plinths are left behind where these immortalized men once stood—but one in Bristol, U.K. has been replaced with something entirely powerful.
Jen Reid is a Black Lives Matter protestor who participated in the removal of Edward Colston—a 17th Century slave trader—last month, and after it was gone, stood on top of the empty plinth with her fist held high in solidarity with her fellow protestors. This was a moving image to many on social media, but when artist Marc Quinn came across it, he knew he had to pay tribute to her somehow.
Well, that somehow turned out to be a beautiful statue replicating the photo of Reid, to be displayed upon the plinth of which she first stood. The artist revealed his work this morning on his Instagram:
In his post, he explains the inspiration behind this instillation, but that no formal consent was sought to install it, rendering it temporary. The name behind this beautiful masterpiece, you ask? ‘A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020’, and it couldn’t be more fitting.
Commenting on the post on Marc’s blog, Reid wrote “This sculpture is about making a stand for my mother, for my daughter, for Black people like me. It’s about Black children seeing it up there. It’s something to feel proud of, to have a sense of belonging, because we actually do belong here and we’re not going anywhere.”
Since it’s reveal this morning, the instillation has blown up all over the internet and attracted large crowds who have sung nothing but praise for the piece of art. Though it’s not official on how long it can remain on display, we’re hoping it’ll become a permanent instillation—after all, this is the history worth keeping on display.