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Thousands of stolen art prints returned to Hackney residents

PUBLISHED: 12:41 16 November 2020 | UPDATED: 23:36 16 November 2020

Hackney street artist STIK created thousands for prints for local people but many were stolen before they could be distributed. Picture: Todd-White Art Photography

Hackney street artist STIK created thousands for prints for local people but many were stolen before they could be distributed. Picture: Todd-White Art Photography

Todd-White Art Photography

Artwork stolen from Hackney residents has been returned after a police appeal.

The stolen art prints came in several colours including teal, yellow, orange and red. Picture: Todd-White Art PhotographyThe stolen art prints came in several colours including teal, yellow, orange and red. Picture: Todd-White Art Photography

Artwork stolen from Hackney residents has been returned after a police appeal.

Hackney-based artist Stik produced 100,000 prints of his Holding Hands artwork, which features two stick figures holding hands and now stands as a sculpture in Hoxton Square.

The 50cm by 50cm prints were created for people living in the borough as a gesture of kindness during the coronavirus pandemic and the artist’s intention was to provide every household with a copy of the poster as a gift to either keep or sell.

READ MORE: Stik’s Hoxton Square sculpture ‘Holding Hands’ unveiled

Thousands of prints have now been returned thanks to a police investigation and appeal and are now in the process of being return to their rightful recipients. Picture: Todd-White Art PhotographyThousands of prints have now been returned thanks to a police investigation and appeal and are now in the process of being return to their rightful recipients. Picture: Todd-White Art Photography

However, while some households received their copy, many others did not. This led to a police investigation and appeal urging for the safe return of the artwork on October 26.

READ MORE: Stolen: Thousands of prints by street artist Stik intended as a ‘gift for Hackney residents’ are sold online instead

Since the appeal, about 4,000 prints have been returned to the artist with an additional 1,000 prints returned before the appeal was made.

Stik said: “Holding Hands shows two people looking in opposite directions yet holding hands in a symbol of universal love and solidarity.

The prints feature a art work by STIK which was installed, with help from Hackney Council,  as a sculpture in Hoxton Square in September 2020. Picture: Todd-White Art PhotographyThe prints feature a art work by STIK which was installed, with help from Hackney Council, as a sculpture in Hoxton Square in September 2020. Picture: Todd-White Art Photography

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“The fact that so many prints were returned to the people of Hackney only amplifies its meaning.”

The prints were supposed to be distributed by the council-issued publication Hackney Today and delivered to the distributor on September 19.

READ MORE: Hackney Street artist Stik to ‘empower’ local artists by funding a series of sculptures

Det Con James Readman said: “It is really encouraging that the public have listened to our appeal and done the right thing by returning a large proportion of the prints.

Hopefully, they were struck by the fact that Stik was doing something really nice for his fellow Hackney residents - funded out of his own pocket - because he wanted to bring a smile to people’s faces, during what has been an incredibly difficult year for most.

“Unfortunately, some individuals saw an opportunity to make money and took it.

“But we are pleased with the response and understand Stik has begun the process of distributing the prints to the rightful recipients.”

Stik recently sold a model of Holding Hands for a quarter of a million pounds, which will be donated to a new Hackney arts programme.

Anyone with information which could assist police is asked to call 101 with reference CRIS 4626404/20.

Alternatively, tweet @MetCC or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

READ MORE: Hackney artist raises over £250,000 for new arts programme


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