A new ‘statue’ has appeared next to Colston’s empty plinth

Bristol has a new statue – sort of – which has been placed next to the empty plinth of Edward Colston.

It features what appears to be a papier mache figure in a wheelie bin – and is believed to be a nod to Saturday’s events when a group of around 300 people gathered to ‘defend’ the Cenotaph.

The sculpture is off a large bald man wedged into a wheelie bin in a string vest. In one hand he’s holding a small globe, and in the other a mobile phone, with a text that reads ‘England for the English’.

On the wheelie bin are stencilled the words: “Spoiler alert: St George was Turkish.”

The ‘statue’ has been chained to a lamppost in a spot facing the empty plinth of the statue of Edward Colston, which was pulled down by a crowd last Sunday and pushed into the docks.

On Saturday, a group of around 300 people gathered, mainly football fans and bikers, under an ‘All Lives Matter’ banner, and the artwork appears to reference that.

(Image: Sian David / Bristol Live)

A passer-by, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s really striking, and quite poignant after the events of the weekend.

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“There were lots of people stopping and looking and taking photos. It’s clearly a response to the people who came out to guard the Cenotaph against nothing on the weekend, the artist doesn’t seem to hold them in very high regard,” she added.

“It’s got a bit of a loutish look to it, with the man in his string vest looking at a phone that says ‘England for the English’. It’s quite clever. They’re obviously telling anyone with that kind of belief to get in the bin,” she added.

However, the assertion on that wheelie bin that St George was Turkish is factually incorrect. While most historians agree the early 4th century Christian martyr St George was born and grew up in Cappadocia, which is in what today is modern Turkey, George himself was a Cappadocian Greek, and not Turkish.

(Image: Sian David / Bristol Live)

The Kingdom of Cappadocia was an independent kingdom until it was taken over by the Roman Empire in the 1st century, and St George would have regarded himself as either Greek or a Cappadocian Greek.

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Turkish people did not migrate to the land now called Turkey until hundreds of years later, from the 6th to the 11th century, where they eventually formed the Ottoman Empire.

St George is the patron saint not just of England, but is also venerated in Catalonia and Aragon in Spain, Austria, Ethiopia and Georgia, which is named after him.

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