It’s complicated

In 2011 the renowned British artist STIK, together with young people from Gdansk, created the artwork “It’s complicated”. The mural shows a group of figures holding hands, representing a diverse and interconnected community. Originally created as part of workshops organized by Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art it was painted on two large metal shipping containers, located in the Lower City. The young participants added bright-coloured clothes and accessories to the characters painted by the artist and named the resulting collaboration ‘It’s Complicated’.

Back then the title referred to the relationship status on Facebook but it turned out to be spot-on if we now look back at the complicated journey the mural undertook to finally end up again in the Gdansk.

Three years later, in 2014, the painted containers disappeared under mysterious circumstances and were discovered soon after, however, cut into dozens of sections and severed where they once held hands. Sadly, the separated figures were being sold in commercial art galleries across Europe. After five years of campaigning by the young people with the support of STIK and the art community, most of the sections created by STIK were recovered and ceremonially destroyed in England.

All of the young people’s collaborative sections were recovered, returned to Gdansk, and reunited in this installation at the shipyard, a decade after the artwork was painted. It is not a coincidence the former Gdańsk Shipyard was chosen as the new location for the mural.

The sections have been arranged in a circle to show that through unity and solidarity, values forever imprinted in this legendary area, anything is possible. People always stood at the hearts of events in this place and they will continue to do so. By creating a new inclusive destination, where a society can rise again we celebrate and honor this great legacy. It’s a difficult story, but uplifting at the same time, as we recognize what the power of community can achieve. It might be complicated but not impossible.


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