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Formerly homeless street artist STIK unveils new sculpture in London

Street artist STIK, who spent years living on the streets, has unveiled a new statue Holding Hands in London's Hoxton Square

Street artist STIK, who spent years living on the streets, has unveiled a new statue called Holding Hands in London’s Hoxton Square.

The 12-foot-tall characters cast in bronze feature the artist’s trademark stick figures, often seen on the streets and buildings of the capital, and are big enough for visitors to pass through the legs or hold hands with the statues themselves.

“The ‘Holding Hands’ sculpture is being installed at a poignant time in our history when holding hands is not always possible,” said STIK. “But is a symbol of hope for what has always been and what will be again.”

“It is a subtle reminder of what it is to look at the world from other people’s perspectives, as relevant today as it will be in 100 years,” he added.

STIK has lived in the London borough of Hackney, where the statues have been placed, for more than 20 years.

But portions of those first years were more difficult, in which he struggled with homelessness and mental illness.

“I had carrier bags filled with drawings but when you get evicted from a squat or you get moved on from somewhere, you just lose loads of stuff,” he previously told The Big Issue. “For me, painting on the streets was the safest place to keep my art.”

He has found more success in recent years, however, exhibiting his art in exhibitions and street corners around the world and has a long history of collaborating with The Big Issue.

In 2013 STIK teamed up with The Big Issue Foundation to create posters for The Big Issue magazine, raising awareness among the public and boosting support for vendors who need it the most.

“A house is like a second skin,” he said of homelessness at the time, “it protects you from the world. Without it you can get badly hurt, physically and emotionally. Homelessness is relentless and grinds you down to a state where you just exist to survive.”

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