One of the most popular works of street art on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour is the couple holding hands by artist Stik from London. In fact this particular piece of street art proved generally so popular that in a survey it was identified as the UK’s 17th favourite piece of art. And we don’t just mean street art, we mean all art.
Visiting artist Falko from South Africa was in the country a few weeks back and Falko added a tiny elephant to Stik’s iconic piece, quite a bold move for someone whose art we don’t recall seeing on these shores before. In an interview with Graffoto Stik generously described Falko’s intervention as a forced enhancement. Stik knows how the game plays with street art, nothing is sacred (no pun intended) so he hasn’t flounced down to Princelet St in a fit of pique to make good the additions, though it will happen eventually.
Falko’s addition provokes curious thoughts: is there a religious significance the elephant? Well an elephant would be considered Haram under Islamic principals so the elephant is not going to be eaten for sure, it must be some kind of pet elephant albeit a bloody small one. The simple leash Falko has added binds the elephant to the couple, without that it would just be a small elephant superimposed on a couple holding hands so the lead is very important. At the tip of the elephant’s trunk it looks like the elephant might be holding a marker pen, even pet elephants getting up on doors these days, though perhaps the elephant is colouring in the background to Stik’s work, in a way signalling to us that Falko actually did the restoration work this time around. Clever that.
On my other blog I have written a sister to this piece which includes a look back at the original creation of the couple holding hands by Stik and it also looks at a lot of the other temporary changes made to the art piece since it was painted back in 2010.
All photos: Dave Stuart