If you walked through the streets of London and came across giant stylized men, you were probably admiring the murals of Stik! Street artist born in 1979, is considered one of the most interesting figures on the international urban scene. His private life seems to be shrouded in mystery, all that is known about him is that he lived in homeless shelters for several years.
Today, therefore, we will take you on a discovery of Stik and, in particular, we will tell you about Holding Hands, one of the most significant subjects of his production!
Stik – Holding Hands
In Holding Hands Stik depicts two of his iconic stylised little men looking in opposite directions holding hands as a sign of universal love and solidarity. The subject ‘Holding Hands’ was conceived by the artist in 2016 when the council of Hackney – a district in north-east London where the street artist lives and of which he is particularly fond – proposed him to make an official banner for the city on the occasion of the London Pride Parade. Stik, artist who has always been sensitive to social causes and civil rights, accepted the request to represent Hackney and the LGBT+ community with great enthusiasm.
In 2020, also in Hackney, a sculpture depicting the same subject appeared, let’s discover its story together!
Stik – Holding Hands: sculpture in Hoxton Square
“Street art is not just art in the middle of a street, it is a response to the environment around it. The more a work fits into the life around it, the more it will seem part of the landscape.”
(Stik at the Guardian in 2015)
In autumn 2020, Stik, in agreement with Hackney Borough Council, unveiled its first public sculpture in Hoxton Square, one of East London’s many green spaces. The bronze sculpture – which takes up the subject Holding Hands – is about 2 metres high, so that the legs of the protagonists generate a gap that can be crossed by the viewer. The composition has been created in such a way that, depending on the observer’s position, one of the two figures appears to be leading the other. One little man, in fact, seems to be going west, towards the city centre, while the other appears to be moving towards the east of London.
This huge work of public art invites the community not to judge the views of others and to empathise with perspectives other than their own.
The sculpture Holding Hands is a symbol of hope, as it was installed during the pandemic period, when one could not touch or hold hands. Again, as in all his works, Stik wants his creations to be a meeting point, regardless of race, sexuality, gender, faith or social status.
Stik – Holding Hands: poster signed by the artist
To coincide with the unveiling of the sculpture in Hoxton Square, the British street artist created and placed 50 x 50 cm prints of Holding Hands inside the Hackney Today newspaper. The newspaper was primarily intended for the citizens of Hackney and was a way for Stik to show his gratitude and closeness to the community that has supported him during the most difficult periods of his life.
Produced in five different colour versions (yellow, orange, red, blue and teal), this work by Stik appears very simple: off-white figures composed of basic elements such as dots, lines and circles are set against brightly coloured backgrounds and make up two stylised little men. In his minimalist style, Stik nevertheless entrusts an important message such as universal love and solidarity.
Currently, five litographs Holding Hands signed by street artist Stik are on display at the Wunderkammern gallery in Milan (but you can also find them on our e-commerce!). If you look at these works carefully, you will notice some creases, this is because they are the original posters that were folded and distributed with the newspaper😊
Stik – Holding Hands: sculpture auctioned at Christie’s
The Hackney Holding Hands project was limited to sculpture and posters, by now we know how much the artist cares about his community and social causes! Given radical social change due to Covid-19, when galleries and museums closed and artists were asked to renew themselves, in October 2020 artist Stik auctioned a miniature reproduction of the Holding Hands sculpture at Christie’s. The work, made from the original bronze maquette of the permanent sculpture in Hoxton Square in Hackney, went for £287,500!
The proceeds went to the special inclusive fund set up by Hackney Council to commission new public sculptures and celebrate the diverse community of the London town.
If you’re passing through Hackney, don’t forget to walk past the Holding Hands sculpture and take a photograph! 📸
See you next Street Art Lovers!