Banksy suggests what should happen to Bristol's Edward Colston statue with new artwork

The elusive street artist grew up in Bristol, where the statue of the slave trader was torn down

Banksy has had his say on what should happen to the plinth on which a statue of slave trader Edward Colston sat until it was torn down by Black Lives Matter protestors.

The elusive street artist, who grew up in Bristol, the city in which the statue of Edward Colston was torn down by protestors during a demonstration on Sunday, before being thrown into the nearby floating harbour, has made his suggestion with a newly-designed sculpture posted to his Instagram account.

“What should we do with the empty plinth in the middle of Bristol?,” he asks his 9.3 million followers. “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.”

It was only a matter of time before Banksy had his say on the felling of the statue in his home city, which made headlines around the world this week, with some even expecting a work of his to pop up close to the now-empty plinth.

It was erected in 1895 to commemorate the slave trader who died 174 years earlier to mark Colston’s huge financial contribution to the city, much of which was money gleaned from his part in the transatlantic slave trade.

The statue, and Colston’s other commemorations in the city, have been a huge point of contention to Bristolians for many years, who have long debated over whether landmarks named in his honour – and the statue – should remain.

On Sunday, during a peaceful protest, the statue was torn down, and Bristol City Council has confirmed it will be removed from the harbour and likely housed in the M-Shed museum, on the harbourside docks.

Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol harbour, during a Black Lives Matter protest rally, in Bristol, England, Sunday June 7, 2020, in response to the recent killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, USA, that has led to protests in many countries and across the US. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

However, Banksy’s suggestion seems to have struck a chord with many in the city, who have been quick to comment on the black-and-white sketch on Instagram to back the idea.

“Brilliant idea,” wrote one commenter, while another added, “Genius”.

Much of Banksy’s early work was stenciled on walls across Bristol, and many of his most famous works still remain in the city.

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