By Martin Smith | 26 November 2014
I took the Piccadilly line westwards from Kings Cross – my destination was Acton Town.
I was told one of my favourite street artists Stik had painted a new mural there.
As I approached Acton Town tube station I looked out of the tube window – there about 500m away and painted on the side of a council tower block was an enormous Stik mural.
Stik has just finished creating the tallest piece of street art in Britain. It’s 38.2m high. It dominates the skyline. I’ve seen massive murals in Detroit, Warsaw and Berlin, but nothing on this scale in Britain before.
The piece is titled “Big Mother” and painted on a yellow backdrop it depicts a mother and child looking forlornly from their council block at the new apartment complexes being built around them.
At the base of the mural, there is another smaller painting. This is of a mother and father and their two children. They too appear to be vacating the block, uncertain of the future.
It has been painted on Charles Hocking House, a condemned council tower block on Bollo Bridge Road. Charles Hocking House is part of the large South Acton housing estate.
The estate was built by Ealing Council for low-income families in 1949 and is earmarked for demolition in 2016.
Instead of the council rebuilding the estate, they have handed it over to London and Quadrant Housing Association and other property developers. There will now be a mix of expensive private flats and some “affordable” rented flats.
Some tenants have been offered properties on the new estate or “persuaded” to live on other estates. Others, especially those who brought their properties have been left stranded.
Before Stik became a famous artist he was homeless for nearly ten years. He said:
Affordable housing in Britain is under threat; this piece is to remind the world that all people need homes.
Campaigners on the estate are both fighting to ensure that all tenants get re-housed and they have set up a project recording the history and culture of the area.
Other street artists – Zabou, ACF, ATM have been painting murals on the estate for years. You can also see on the pillars the wonderful tile mosaics of local artist Carrie.
If you are over in Acton Town take a look at the Stik mural and support the estate campaign for houses for all.
Stik will soon be working on a new and even bigger project – weather permitting!
The creative adult is the child that survived.
—— Pablo Picasso