Banksy has suggested that Bristol’s toppled statue of Edward Colston should be replaced with a new monument to commemorate the moment it was pulled down.
Last weekend, protesters in Bristol used ropes to pull down the bronze statue of Colston, a prominent 17th Century slave trader who has been a controversial figure in the city for many years.
The statue was later dragged through the streets of Bristol and thrown into the harbour.
Suggestions on what should occupy the now-empty plinth have since begun to emerge, and Banksy says his idea “caters for both those who miss the Colston statue and those who don’t.”
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. . What should we do with the empty plinth in the middle of Bristol? Here’s an idea that caters for both those who miss the Colston statue and those who don’t. We drag him out the water, put him back on the plinth, tie cable round his neck and commission some life size bronze statues of protestors in the act of pulling him down. Everyone happy. A famous day commemorated.
Posting on Instagram, the anonymous Bristol street art icon wrote: “What should we do with the empty plinth in the middle of Bristol?
“Here’s an idea that caters for both those who miss the Colston statue and those who don’t.
“We drag him out the water, put him back on the plinth, tie cable round his neck and commission some life size bronze statues of protestors in the act of pulling him down. Everyone happy. A famous day commemorated.”
He also shared a new cartoon of the moment the statue was pulled down, with a group of four people using ropes to topple it from the plinth.
Colston was a member of the Royal African Company, which transported thousands of men, women and children from Africa to the Americas. When he died in 1721, he left his wealth to various charities and his legacy can still be seen on Bristol’s streets, memorials and buildings.
Leading Bristol music venue Colston Hall has also reiterated its desire to change names because it “acts as a symbol of division”.
A separate campaign has called for Colston’s statue to be replaced with one honouring Paul Stephenson, the man who famously led the city’s boycott of buses after a company refused to employ Black drivers and conductors.
The moment a statue of slave trader Edward Colston toppled into Bristol’s harbour. ‘It’s what he deserves. I’ve been waiting all my life for this moment’ someone told me in the moments after. pic.twitter.com/6juqVrsJ6V
— Sarah Turnnidge (@sarah_turnnidge) June 7, 2020
Stephenson led the Bristol Bus Boycott in 1963 after the Bristol Omnibus Company banned the hiring of Black people. An online petition calling for him to be memorialised has now attracted over 29,000 signatures.
Last weekend, Banksy also shared a powerful piece of artwork in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, portraying the burning of an American flag.
The artwork was shared on his Instagram page after the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota when a white police officer knelt on his neck as he lay on the ground during an arrest.
It depicts a vigil for a member of the Black community, whose picture is in a frame next to some flowers and a candle, which burns an American flag as it hangs on the wall.
Banksy follows a number of other high-profile names who have spoken out during the recent Black Lives Matter protests, which have taken place across the US and around the world.