The Why?s Man

"My art is place specific and people specific." George Wyllie

Back to The Paper Boat


In 1990, the Paper Boat sailed it up the River Scheldt to Antwerp, a city which was re-inventing itself but wanted to build on its industrial past. Stad aan de Stroom, included a design competition to regenerate the harbour with its docks and warehouses, and as part of the focus on how to build on the past, the Paper Boat was to be lifted onto the land beside the Maritime Museum and displayed there.

A big crane was used to lift it out of the water once it had made its way up the river.

George Wyllie asked the crane driver if he could lift the small dingy out of it after the Paper Boat had been safelt lifted onto dry land, and place the dingy on a plinth beside it.

He explained later, "So, down came the crane again with a big hook to lift this tiny dingy and the crowd cheered the crane driver (for his) expertise in laying the boat just where it was wanted, putting it on the plinth, and then taking the dingy out of the big boat and putting it on a plinth beside it. That's what I mean by community involvement: it was inadvertent but it was a nice moment."

*Scottish Schools GW Archive

George Wyllie Education Initiative

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