"It's provoked debate. It's a totally different context to the Colston statue, it was put up there without permission or consultation with the city. We've put a process in place that we believe is the right process because it involves the whole city in deciding what goes on, on that plinth if anything and this came outside that process. It's really important that we took it down, we had to take it down because it is not respecting the process we worked to create."
"This is a whole city. There were people in Bristol who were elated that Colston got pulled down. There were some people who were sympathetic that the Colston statue got pulled down but were dismayed by the way it happened. There were people who feel they have lost a bit of themselves in the statue being pulled down. None of those people are going anywhere. We all still live in the city together and we have to find a way of leading Bristol that actually shows everyone that they are respected even if they don't get what they want. Managing our public spaces has to be the result of a process that's included all of those perspectives, it doesn't mean going at the pace of the slowest but it does mean taking people with you."
"As a white artist in a race and class privileged elitist industry he could have even talked to black artists and said actually rather than just doing it myself I'd like to begin to redress the race and class inequalities in this sector in which I work and make my money and I want to create space for new artists to come through who have historically been excluded because of their race and class background. But you make decisions about what you do and that decision wasn't made."
"If I had focused on the statue in the middle of Brexit when I came in, (Nigel) Farage is on the prowl, people are wondering who they are, as the first black mayor of a major European city it's all I would have been talking about for the past few years just like today the statue conversation is taking me away from conversations on local government finance, regeneration, child hunger, work experience, that's all I would have done."
14. Various of exteriors of the M Shed museum where both the statue of Edward Colston and Jen Reid are being kept in storage for the time being
MAYOR: THERE ARE DIFFERENT VIEWS ON STATUE IN BRISTOL
The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said on Thursday (16 JULY 2020) he had to take down the statue of a black protester to honour the city's democratic process of debate.
Officials on Thursday removed a statue of a Black Lives Matter activist that was installed on a pedestal once occupied by a monument to a 17th-century slave trader.
Artist Marc Quinn created the resin and steel likeness of Jen Reid, a protester photographed standing on the pedestal after demonstrators pulled down the statue of Edward Colston and dumped it in Bristol’s harbor on June 7.
Rees said there were people in the city "who had lost a piece of themselves" with Colston's statue being pulled down and that he had to tread carefully to make sure all voices were heard in the city.
Speaking about Quinn's statue of Jen Reid, Rees said: "It was put up there without consultation with the city. We've put a process in place that involves the whole city in deciding what goes on that plinth."
He added that Quinn could have involved black artists in the process rather than doing it himself.
Asked why he hadn't removed the statue of Colston when he was elected, Rees said that he had come to power at a delicate time with the Brexit vote happening in 2016 and it could have been provocative for a black mayor to have removed the statue.
Reid's statue was erected before dawn on Wednesday without the approval of city authorities, but 24 hours later it was gone.
Bristol City Council said the sculpture "will be held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection.”
Colston was a trader who made a fortune transporting enslaved Africans across the Atlantic to the Americas on Bristol-based ships. His money funded schools and charities in Bristol, 120 miles (195 kilometers) southwest of London.
The toppling of his statue was part of a worldwide reckoning with racism and slavery sparked by the death of a Black American man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May.
City authorities fished the Colston statue out of the harbor and say it will be placed in a museum, along with placards from the Black Lives Matter demonstration.