“Sleeping Baby” is typical of the artist’s signature style: large scale stick-figures with thick black lines and blocks of bright colour. It’s a permanent fixture on the outside wall of the hospital and 100 silkscreen prints of the image have raised funds for the Regional Neurological Rehabilitation Unit.
The unit works with Alzheimer’s sufferers and those with serious brain injuries, giving them art classes as part of their therapy. “They’re given this chance to recontact those parts of their mind which were lost, and regain a kind of inner life,” said the once-homeless artist Stik. “Otherwise they would be just sitting in a bed somewhere, waiting for their brain to heal: this is an active healing process.”
According to the artist himself, “Sleeping Baby” is representative of the NHS and he hopes it will help galvanise people to fight against its privatisation. “The NHS is our baby,” he told The Guardian. “It is very vulnerable, and we the people need to take care of it. We’ve created it, by the people for the people. We can’t let it be cut up and sold off, that would be barbaric. Privatising the NHS is an abominable idea — suffering is not a commodity to be bought and sold.”
While Stik isn't as secretive as fellow street artist Banksy, he never reveals any personal details about himself and always hides his eyes with oversized glasses. His most famous work is also Britain's largest mural: the 125-feet high "Big Mother" on the side of Charles Hocking House in west London — a block of flats scheduled for demolition in 2016.
Each of Stik's London pieces is a political (with a small p) commentary on the changing face of the city. “The figures that I draw are representing marginalised communities and have a certain dispossessed feeling about them,” he told The Guardian.
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