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Slaver Memorial Statue Torn Down By Protesters

PostPosted: June 7th, 2020, 1:02 pm
by toucana

My home town of Bristol is in the headlines this afternoon after the memorial statue of a well-known 18th century slaver was torn down and thrown into the city harbour by a large group of protesters.

In Bristol, protesters used ropes to pull down the bronze statue of Edward Colston, a prominent 17th Century slave trader, who has been a source of controversy in the city for many years.

Colston was a member of the Royal African Company, which is believed to have transported about 80,000 men, women and children from Africa to the Americas.

On his death in 1721, he bequeathed his wealth to charities and his legacy can still be seen on Bristol's streets, memorials and buildings.

After the statue was toppled, a protester posed with his knee on the figure's neck - reminiscent of the video showing George Floyd, the black man who died while being restrained by a Minnesota police officer.

The statue was later dragged through the streets of Bristol and thrown into the harbour. The empty plinth was then used as a makeshift stage for protesters.

Local police said there would be an investigation into the downing of the statue.

Historian Prof David Olusoga told BBC News that the statue should have been taken down long before.

He said: "Statues are about saying 'this was a great man who did great things'. That is not true, he [Colston] was a slave trader and a murderer."

Some 10,000 people are believed to be protesting in Bristol. Many bore placards bearing George Floyd's name alongside slogans such as Black Lives Matter and 'I Can't Breathe'.

The statue of Edward Colston stood for many years in the St Augustines Parade area of Bristol city centre close to the church of St Mary on the Quay, not far from Colston Avenue and the Colston Hall.

It was thrown into the harbour near the modern Pero footbridge which was named after a young 18th century slave known to have once lived nearby.

Re: Slaver Memorial Statue Torn Down By Protesters

PostPosted: June 7th, 2020, 6:52 pm
by TheVat

(I can't verify the accuracy of this Google Maps screenshot)

Re: Slaver Memorial Statue Torn Down By Protesters

PostPosted: June 7th, 2020, 7:53 pm
by toucana

The protesters dumped the statue into the harbour on the Bordeaux Quay side of St Augustine's Reach, not far from the Pero footbridge. You can see the grey 'horns' (actually counterweights) of that bascule bridge in the background of the CNN photograph.

The Pero bridge is marked on that Google Map screenshot as a thin red line right at the very top of the frame.

The Arnolfini art centre on Narrow Quay just across the water on the right was the alma mater where I worked for so many years. Bit odd seeing this area flagged up in news headlines and videos all over the world.

Re: Slaver Memorial Statue Torn Down By Protesters

PostPosted: June 7th, 2020, 8:18 pm
by toucana

We once worked with Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya to turn the Pero footbridge into a magical 'Fog bridge' art installation for the 2015 IBT festival. - Fun project.

This view shows the bridge from the other direction, looking over towards Bordeaux Quay from the Narrow Quay side.

Re: Slaver Memorial Statue Torn Down By Protesters

PostPosted: June 11th, 2020, 3:40 am
by toucana

The toppled statue of slave trader Edward Colston has been retrieved from Bristol harbour.

It was fished out at about 05:00 BST on Thurdsday morning because the council "didn't want anybody to get hurt if there was a crowd there or anyone looking".

Bristol City Council said it needed to be removed from the water because the city had a "working harbour". The statue will be taken to a secure location to be hosed down before becoming a museum exhibit.

We've had a diver down there who attached the ropes to crane it out of the water and take it away," Ray Barnett, head of collections and archives at Bristol City Council, said.

"The ropes that were tied around him, the spray paint added to him, is still there so we'll keep him like that."

Mr Barnett said the statue would be hosed down to remove the mud and ensure "we preserve him as he was tipped into the dock, while the decision is made how to move on for there".
"Our intention is to stabilise him before he corrodes further," he said.

Previously, Bristol's Mayor Marvin Rees said he "felt no sense of loss" at the statue's removal.

Re: Slaver Memorial Statue Torn Down By Protesters

PostPosted: June 12th, 2020, 7:06 am
by toucana
The statue of Edward Colston has apparently now made a short journey across the docks to the M-Shed Museum. Conservators at the museum have posted this update on social media:
Despite only being in the water for a few days, mud had filled the inside and obscured the evidence of its journey into the harbour.

We spent the morning removing mud from its inside with a hose and extendable brush. The painted graffiti was particularly at risk from the cleaning so this was done very carefully to ensure it wasn’t washed off.

The symbolism of his graffitti’d body has been preserved and the significance it has for us will be an important story to tell.

We ended up with two surprise additions. Firstly a bicycle tyre which emerged from the harbour with the statue, and then the discovery of a clue to the people who first installed it in Bristol: A 1895 magazine rolled up inside the coat tails.

After careful cleaning and drying we found someone had handwritten the names of those who originally fitted the statue and the date on the inside pages.



Re: Slaver Memorial Statue Torn Down By Protesters

PostPosted: June 12th, 2020, 10:18 am
by Serpent
That's what i call a happy ending.

Re: Slaver Memorial Statue Torn Down By Protesters

PostPosted: July 15th, 2020, 5:38 am
by toucana

A sculpture of a Black Lives Matter protester has been erected in secret on the same Bristol plinth from where the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was toppled last month.

The monument, a black and resin steel piece, was installed just before 5am on Tuesday without the knowledge of Bristol City Council.

It depicts the moment black protester Jen Reid stood on the empty plinth during a Black Lives Matter march after the statue of Colston was toppled, dragged to the city harbour and dumped into the water near Pero’s bridge which was named after an enslaved man called Pero Jones, who lived and died in Bristol.

Naming the new monument A Surge of Power (Jen Reid), artist Marc Quinn told The Guardian Ms Reid had created the sculpture with her actions, and that he was just "crystallising it".