The Why?s Man

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

Back to The Paper Boat


In 1990 the Paper Boat made its way to the heart of the banking industry in Manhattan, New York. It berthed at the World Financial Centre. George Wyllie sang his Paper Boat Song, and played it on the ukulele, and as the question mark was revealed, four Scottish pipers played. He took a spire with him as he went ashore to celebrate the place in which it stood. He then opened his golden suitcase and took out the ship's log which said the purpose of the Paper Boat was to make things plain; clear; open and visible, and said that he intended to do that. 1990 was the bi-centenary of Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations', a classic text for capitalism. George Wyllie went on to say that Adam Smith thought another of his books, though not receiving the same type of attention, was equally important 'Theory of Moral Sentiments'. He went on to read the first sentence from it...

'How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature,
which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him,
though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.'

The Wall Street Journal

Adam Smith

*Scottish Schools GW Archive

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