Project to honour George

Published: 9 May 2012 10:00

INVERCLYDE is to be at the heart of a large scale national art project to celebrate the life and legacy of George Wyllie.

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As part of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012, a large question mark - made in honour of the famous sculptor - is to be set alight from the Titan Crane in Greenock while a flotilla of paper boats will set sail down the Clyde.

Organisers of the current Whysman Festival, which celebrates George's career in his 90th year, are delighted the Scottish Government has got on board with a project of its own, and they hope it will help inspire a new generation.

Schoolchildren from Inverclyde will create the paper boats for the government-funded project, while former shipyard workers and unemployed school leavers will make the question mark before it is hoisted onto the crane.

George Wyllie's daughter Louise, who is helping to lead the Whysman Festival, said: "We are just over the moon. This is such a big moment and we are desperate to get as many people as possible involved in Inverclyde."

The sculptor's daughter has spoken previously about the importance of having Inverclyde at the centre of celebrations for her father's work, because it is where he drew most of his inspiration from.

She added: "My father always said that his art was place-specific and people-specific.

"Engaging with ordinary people through his work was what it was all about."

George, pictured, brought art out of the galleries and on to the streets and his iconic Straw Locomotive and Paper Boat sculptures - two of his most famous works - are the inspiration behind the new art project.

On Hogmanay, George's birthday, the question mark on the Titan Crane will be set alight simultaneously with another question mark at the Finnieston Crane, while the paper boats are launched on the Clyde.

Symbolic question marks will also be placed in the mudflats at Woodhall in Port Glasgow, to be spotted as the tide comes in and out.

The Wyllie project is part of a £2.2 million investment in the arts announced yesterday by Fiona Hyslop, the culture minister.

It also sees Greenock's new Beacon Arts Centre awarded cash to create community projects in Port Glasgow, Greenock East and Larkfield/Braeside. All the work will form part of an exhibition in the Mitchell Library at the end of the year.

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