A Star Wars inspired statue has been removed from the plinth that once housed a tribute to slave trader Edward Colston.
In 2020, protesters in Bristol used ropes to pull down the bronze statue of Edward Colston, a prominent 17th Century slave trader, as local artists described its presence as “a metaphor for how racism operates; Ever present, but often in the background.”
Last year, four of the people allegedly involved were cleared of criminal damage in court.
However yesterday (April 7), a statue of a battle droid from the Star Wars franchise was discovered on the empty plinth. Created by local artist Simon Francis Thomas, the statue was set to be displayed for “three days on the controversial plinth” to coincide with the Star Wars Celebration event taking place in London.
However, less than 24 hours after it appeared, the figure was removed.
“Thanks for all the love. I really enjoyed this project and the feedback.. should I do another pop up?” asked the artist on Instagram before confirming that “Roger” was “back home with me.”
“So glad I installed an Air Tag in [him],” he added. “Should I auction him off for charity?”
No reason has been given for the removal but the Star Wars figure’s appearance was met with criticism.
“Do you remember the council consulting on turning the slave trader plinth into an advertising spot,” wrote one Twitter user while a local resident on Facebook wrote: “What has this got to do with Bristol?”
@AdblockBristol do you remember the council consulting on turning the slave trader plinth into an advertising spot
— Josh Connor (@errantlabour) April 7, 2023
“About time the plinth was removed,” added another commenter.
A statue of Darth Vader was placed temporarily on the empty plinth in December 2020 after the death of Star Wars actor Dave Prowse, who lived in Bristol.
During yesterday’s Star Wars Celebration event, it was confirmed that Daisy Ridley will return to the franchise and three new films are in the works. A trailer was also released for the upcoming Star Wars spin-off Ahsoka.