Little Big Mother, the maquette for the mural called Big Mother, which Stik painted in 2014 on Charles Hocking House, South Acton estate in West London. The council tower block had been condemned before Stik began the 125-foot image of a mother and child — to date the tallest mural in Britain, which fills the entire side of the Acton estate. Four years on, Charles Hocking House is slated for imminent demolition.
‘The experience of making the mural was overwhelming — it took over nine months of planning,’ he explains. ‘I did everything by hand; there was no painting assistance whatsoever. I was using an airless compressor which applied broad brushstrokes of paint to the concrete. It was the only way to cover such a large surface. But it took a toll on my body. It was a monster project; you don’t do many of these in a lifetime.’
With Big Mother, Stik sought to address the issue of uprooted communities. ‘The mother is looking out to the horizon, wondering where she’ll go once the building is demolished, while the child’s eyes are fixed on the luxury apartments being built opposite this social housing block. Obviously the child is not going to be living in those apartments — the final destination is unknown. But I also wanted to convey some sort of hope. I think that hope is probably one of the most melancholy of emotions. I tried to convey that in this piece more than most,’ the artist says.
As with previous Christie’s sales of work donated by Stik, all proceeds from the 28 March sale of Little Big Mother will go to charity. In this case, the funds will be split between Artification, the London nonprofit whose support enabled the creation of Big Mother, and a new initiative called MyMural. A collaboration with the London Mayor’s Office and the Design Against Crime centre at the Central Saint Martins school of art, MyMural seeks to encourage council residents to curate art on their own estates.