Jen Reid statue removal to ‘cost Bristol council thousands’

Jen Reid statue Bristol
Image caption Bristol City Council says removing the statue has cost it thousands

The cost of removing a sculpture of a Black Lives Matter activist from the plinth where a statue of slave trader Edward Colston once stood will “run into thousands”, the city council said.

Contractors removed the statue of Jen Reid on Thursday, a day after it was illegally erected in central Bristol.

Mayor Marvin Rees has asked artist Marc Quinn to contribute, saying the money came from front-line funds.

It is not clear whether the artist will contribute or if this can be enforced.

The BBC has attempted to contact London-based Quinn.

A spokesman for the council said: “We are waiting on a final quote from the contractors and police, but it is likely to run into the thousands.

“We should get the bill next week.”

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The sculpture of Jen Reid was taken away in a lorry on Thursday

The black resin statue of Ms Reid, called A Surge of Power, was created by Quinn who said it was designed to be a temporary installation to continue the conversation about racism.

He said he was inspired to create it after seeing an image of Ms Reid standing on the plinth with her fist raised during the Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June, moments after the statue of Colston had been torn down and dragged into the harbour.

The statue of Ms Reid was taken down on Thursday – 24 hours after it was erected – because the council said it did not have planning permission.

A history commission has been set up which will help authorities decide on city memorials and the future of the plinth.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The statue of Edward Colston was pulled from its plinth last month and dragged into the harbour

Mayor Marvin Rees said: “The artist has said that he wants to sell it and give the money to local charities.

“I will say too – and this is the point I’ve made and it’s not a flippant point – but actually we’re facing a major funding crisis through Covid at the moment as well.

“We’ve lost revenue and we’ve had increased costs.

“It cost us money to take this down. The money we spent taking the statue down actually comes from accounts that we spend on adult social care and children’s services.

“We’d really welcome a contribution from the artist.”

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