The Wyllie family were delighted and honoured when the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, agreed to open the George Wyllie Retrospective: In Pursuit of the Question Mark at The Mitchell Library, Glasgow. This honour crossed party political lines and Mr Salmond spoke with feeling and insight about how rare it is for an artist to touch 'such a canvas of people as George Wyllie did'.
Here is Mr Salmond's speech in full:
"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm absolutely delighted to be asked to open this exhibition. I remember a poem from Liz Lochhead, which I think was written for George's 75th birthday and what it said was:
“He is true and straight, his strategy is honest and to ask in all innocence, in all experience, the simplest, starkest, startling questions.”
I think our Makar managed to sum up George as one of Scotland's greatest artists extremely well. George had a habit of posing questions.
His work was rooted in Scotland. He became a sculptor after attending welding classes aimed at the ship yard apprentices in Greenock College. Many of his major works were assembled by metal workers from the selfsame yards.
He was hugely interested and concerned with Scotland's history of invention and industry. Of course, among his most famous works were his straw locomotive hung from the Finnieston Crane and the paper boat launched from the Clyde.
I think – believe – that few artists have actually ever touched such a canvas of people as George Wyllie did.
I doubt if there are many people – certainly of my vintage and older – that don't remember the paper boat going down the Clyde; it was one of the epic memories of something that connected art to the people and you can see from this exhibition how many of his other works were inspired by Scotland's great industrial tradition.
I think we should also reflect on George's international reputation. After Manchester Centre was bombed in 1976, he masterminded a Christmas project to place thousands of roosting robins in the damaged buildings. The Berlin Burd was commissioned by authorities in west Berlin in the 1980s to overlook the Berlin Wall and emphasise the absurdity of the division with that city. It stands to this day.
The paper boat launched down the Clyde made the front page of the Wall Street Journal when it sailed into New York carrying a copy Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments – that was the book he wrote before The Wealth of Nations and in George's estimation a better book than The Wealth of Nations. And my estimation too.
George was extremely economical with his materials because so vast were his constructions that that was absolutely necessary. I think the paper boat had its final display as a gigantic tern in Stornoway airport some years later. An original adaption of a Clyde yard boat into a Western Isles sea bird!
Ladies and gentleman, I'm really delighted about this exhibition. I think it will touch a great number of people and I think people far and wide of all generations will find something new and something interesting in the retrospective of George's work. And therefore it is with enormous pleasure that I declare this wonderful exhibition to celebrate the work of George Wyllie well and truly open!"
George Wyllie scul?ture, Monarch of Auchmountain Glen, has been taken under the wing of local children
This press release has been produced by pupils from All Saints Primary in Greenock after a flurry of activity which has seen them spring into action to help restore a local landmark made by artist George Wyllie, who lived in neighbouring Gourock for 50 years. The children have been studying the life of this influential artist, writer and philosopher as part of a pioneering education initiative devised by The Whysman Festival, which has been funded by Creative Scotland's First in a Lifetime programme. Thousands of young people in nine Clydeside local authorities from P1-S6 are studying currently Wyllie's work.MEDIA RELEASE27 NOVEMBER 2012A GREENOCK primary school is set to adopt a sculpture made by one of Inverclyde's most famous citizens.
Pupils from All Saints Primary School have been studying the work of internationally renowned artist George Wyllie, who lived in Gourock for 50 years. They have decided to take on responsibility for one of his sculptures, Monarch of Auchmountain Glen, after realising that the locally sited sculpture had been made by George Wyllie and seeing that it had been vandalised.
The stag, originally commissioned by Cloch Housing is currently situated on Kilmacolm Road, not far from the school and is owned by Inverclyde Council.
When they realised that the stag sculpture was in such a sorry state, the P5 pupils decided to take matters into their own hands.
They arranged a meeting with Provost Robert Moran, Councillor Michael McCormick and Senior Housing Officer, Mary MacDonald from Cloch Housing, inviting Angela McEwan from Media Matters, which manages the George Wyllie Education Initiative to intend.
As a result of meeting of the meeting, in which the pupils presented their own case, Provost Moran and Councillor McCormick, agreed to investigate ways in which Inverclyde Council could implement the children's ideas, including restoring, repainting, and re-locating the sculpture.
Ms MacDonald offered to include an article by the pupils about what they are doing in Cloch Housing's Christmas newsletter. The class immediately set about writing the article for the deadline the next day.
Provost Moran said, "We are very privileged to have a George Wyllie sculpture on our doorstep. It’s like having a Lowry in the cupboard and this work will give the stag the prominence it deserves.”
Councillor Michael McCormick added, " We are very impressed that the children have brought the sculpture to our attention and we are more than happy to be able to assist with the possible relocation and restoration of a very important local landmark.”
One of the P5 pupils, Elle Munro commented after the meeting, " It’s great that the council has listened to us about the stag and I am really glad that they are going to help us fix it.”
School comment:” The children have really enjoyed learning about George Wyllie’s life and work and are thrilled to be working with the local council to preserve and restore a genuine work of art on our doorstep. We are so impressed by their abilities to present and persuade and this project has shown them that they can influence decisions which directly affect their lives.”
Nicola Lindsay, from Cloch Housing said that she is delighted that the children of All Saints have undertaken this project as the stag has previously been neglected. Cloch is very happy that the community is involved in bringing the stag back to its former glory.
Angela McEwan from Media Matters explained, "The pupils were extremely passionate about what they wanted to see, the sculpture restored to honour George Wyllie and to be an emblem for their own community. It has angered the youngsters that, as they explained,'the older people are very upset about what happened' and they've set about doing something about it, and doing something they certainly are."
Today, the Councillors and Cloch Housing Official, will return with representatives from the Employment Trust as the pupils instruct them on how restoration should be carried out and decide on which site could be chosen for the sculpture.
George Wyllie died in May this year at the age of 90 and the pupils have been investigating his work and creating their own, as part of the Whyman Festival. They recently created a large paper boat, inspired by the paper boat Wyllie created as a comment on the loss of Clydeside shipyards. Their boat is now on display in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow as part of a major exhibition of George Wyllie's work.
The sculpture of the stag, which Mr Wyllie made in 2000, was commissioned by Cloch Housing and celebrates the community and the environment of Auchmountain Glen.For more information, contact:
Pat Nicol, Depute Head Teacher, All Saints Primary School
Elle Munro P5
Jay McGinty P5
telephone: 01475 715640EDITORS’ NOTES
The Whysman Festival has been funded by Creative Scotland’s First in a Lifetime funding programme.
The George Wyllie Education Initiative is part of the festival, supporting schools in 9 local authorities along the Clyde, as pupils and teachers investgate George Wyllie's work and create their own.
The online journal of what's happening in schools is on Blipfoto and the following entries detail what pupils at All Saints PS have been doing:
Meeting with the Officials:http://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2493743
Placing Paper Boat in the exhibition at the Mitchell:http://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2476355
Pupil Design work:http://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2487034
All featured photographs are available in high resolution.
George Wyllie's family with First Minister Alex Salmond at the opening of In Pursuit of the Question Mark. From l-r, Elaine Aitken, Calvin Gomes, Alex Salmond, Louise Wyllie, Lewis Gomes & Jennifer Aitken
SCOTLAND'S FIRST MINISTER, ALEX SALMOND, OPENS GEORGE WYLLIE RETROSPECTIVEGeorge Wyllie has been honoured in his home city by a major retrospective exhibition opened last at a civic reception in The Mitchell Library hosted by The Depute Lord Provost of Glasgow, Baillie Gerald Leonard and attended by Rt Hon Alex Salmond, MSP, First Minister of Scotland.
Both men were united in their praise of the Glasgow-born artist, who died in May at the age of 90.
The First Minister said: “He was by any standards an extraordinary man, whose art will be familiar to many generations of Scots, and it is entirely fitting that he is recognised and celebrated with this unique survey of his work right in the heart of the community he held so dear.
All of the major themes he so skilfully dealt with will be represented in this exhibition, be it birds, boats, spires or engines. I hope that many thousands are able to come to the Mitchell and raise a smile at artwork that is at times playful, and yet speaks to a powerful underlying message about the importance of hard work and community.”
Baillie Gerald Leonard added: “It is fitting that Glasgow should host this celebration of the life and works of one of its favourite sons and that such a detailed and extensive examination of George Wyllie’s career is held in one of the most loved and well used landmarks in the city.
“This retrospective will enthral and enchant anyone who visits the Mitchell Library to see the hundreds of works on display and will no doubt lead to an even greater and wider appreciation of the unique talent of George Wyllie.”
George Wyllie Retrospective: In Pursuit of the Question Mark has been curated by his elder daughter, Louise Wyllie, together with Lynne Mackenzie and Jan Patience.
The exhibition is the most comprehensive survey of the internationally renowned Glasgow-born artist’s work ever mounted and consists of almost 1000 objects. These range from his earliest drawings made for family when he was serving on HMS Argonaut in The Pacific during the Second World War, to sculptures dating back to the 1960s made from old car bumpers.
A Bumper Dolphin, has been rescued from a second-hand shop in Dunoon and brought to The Mitchell after the owner of the shop saw a story about ‘lost Wyllie bumper fish’ in his local paper.
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life said: “The George Wyllie Retrospective: In Pursuit of the Question Mark
celebrates the career of one of Scotland's best loved artists. Behind the mischief and the humour in his work was a serious intellect and real talent which Glaswegians instantly appreciated as his international fame grew.
"“George gave the world social sculptures to remember and now his creative legacy will inspire a new generation through this exhibition and an education programme.”
Louise Wyllie said: “Curating this exhibition of my father’s work has been an emotional experience. He knew about the exhibition happening before he died but it took on a different significance for us as a family after he died.
“It was very poignant for my sister and I going through everything in the family home, which included thousands of artworks, and also a lot of very personal items. We have some of these items in the exhibition, including hand-drawn Christmas cards my dad sent home to my mum and his family back in Glasgow when he was serving with the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Appropriately, he had drawn Popeye on them.”
Iain Munro, Director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland commented: “George Wyllie had a talent for connecting people with art. As one of Scotland’s exceptional artists, his creative legacy will inspire generations for years to come, and fortunately we were able to invest in this wonderful exhibition and community projects before he passed away. The Year of Creative Scotland is about celebrating Scotland’s creativity and what better way than to recognise and celebrate George Wyllie’s work.”
The exhibition also features material which shows the process which led Wyllie to create iconic ephemeral works such as the Straw Locomotive
and the Paper Boat
Unusual items his first ever oil painting, made in 1951, called The Rescue
, a cardboard box containing the ashes of the Straw Locomotive
(burned in a Viking-style funeral at Springburn after being taken down from the Finnieston Crane), a ‘football team’ (plus steel ball) designed for the Euro ‘96 in Manchester and hand-drawn illustrated story books which Wyllie produced to talk out various projects, including The Paper Boat
The Whysman Festival received investment through the Year of Creative Scotland’s First in a Lifetime
programme to mount this exhibition and project-manage two community based projects; The Big Little Paper Boat Education Initiative which takes in over 90 Clydeside schools and the Big Clyde Question Project involving community groups in Inverclyde. GEORGE WYLLIE RETROSPECTIVE: IN PURSUIT OF THE QUESTION MARK The Mitchell, North Street, Glasgow, G3 7DNhttp://www.whysman.co.uk
http://www.georgewyllie.comUntil 2 February, 2013Open Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pmFor further information & hi-res images please contact: Jan Patience on email@example.com EDITORS’ NOTES* The Whysman Festival
has been supported by Creative Scotland’s First in a Lifetime
programme. George Wylllie Retrospective: In Pursuit of the *
Question Mark has been generously hosted in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, by Glasgow Life. * Creative Scotland
is the national development agency for the arts, screen and creative industries. Our vision is that Scotland will be recognised as one of the world’s most creative nations – one that attracts, develops and retains talent, where the arts and the creative industries are supported and celebrated and their economic contribution fully captured; a nation where the arts and creativity play a central part in the lives, education and well-being of our population. www.creativescotland.com* About the Year of Creative Scotland 2012:
The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and is a chance to showcase, celebrate and promote Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at: www.visitscotland.com/creative* The Year of Creative Scotland
is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL.
Pupils from P1/2 of Dalry Primary School with their paper boats, made with copies of the plans for their new school. Genius. George would have approved.
George Wyllie Education Initiative
(Co-ordinated and managed by Media Matters Education Consultancy)
One of the highlights of the Whysman Festival has been the George Wyllie Education Initiative which has been supporting schools as they introduce their pupils to the work of George Wyllie.
George was the archetypal Curriculum for Excellence Man, creating scul?ture, art, music, drama, poetry, prose, and so pupils, in both primary and secondary schools, are now being encouraged to do the same, in Art & Design, Drama, English, Music, Social Studies and Technologies.
Over 90 schools in 9 local authorities have expressed an interest in combining an investigation of the artist with creative activities.
So what’s happening? Well, school pupils are studying the work of George across all the airts and pairts with the one proviso that they all make a paper boat, which will form part of an Origami Line. One boat per school will come to The Mitchell in Glasgow to be 'docked' in a life-sized paper boat shed at the George Wyllie Retrospective: In Pursuit of the Question Mark. The rest will head to The River Clyde on Hogmanay (George Wyllie's birthday) and be launched from The Riverside Museum as a tribute to George's Paper Boat, which set sail in 1989 from the Clyde and headed off on a voyage which took it to London, Antwerp, New York and back to Scotland.
(Schools featured in the list below will change regularly during the exhibition.)
* In John Paul Academy (City of Glasgow), pupils in S2, S5 and S6 have made their own arrangement (for the ukelele) of George Wyllie’s Paper Boat Song.
* Inspired by his artwork, S2/S3 pupils taking Drama in St Andrew’s Secondary (City of Glasgow) have developed and performed a sketch about the Whys Man.
* In West Dunbartonshire, P7b at Kilbowie Primary spent its Art Appreciation Week finding out about George Wyllie, with pupils drawing their own
interpretations of his scul?tures, writing poems and making their shipbuilding and Singer-inspired paper boat.
* In Inverclyde, P6 in Gourock Primary made even the tiniest boats and P6 in St Ninian’s Primary made their paper boat featuring ‘views of
Gourock’ where George Wyllie lived and worked.
* The Higher Geography class in Bellahouston Academy (City of Glasgow) is investigating industrial change on Clydeside, using Wyllie images as visual guides and reminders. The class boat is made of an Ordnance Survey map of the area.
* P4 in St Fillan’s Primary, Renfrewshire learned about George Wyllie’s scul?tures, and 3D artwork. One pupil spent his October week as the WhysMan Junior Reporter and the class is now working on a giant question mark to be installed in the river at Langbank.
* P7 in Braehead Primary shares George’s passion for music and wanted its boat to represent that, as well as the influence Burns had on the artist. The pupils decided to make their boat out of the sheet music for Auld Lang Syne.
Every school taking part is adding a paper boat to the Boat Shed, reflecting the work which its pupils have been doing and as a salute to George Wyllie. The boats currently in the Boat Shed, illustrating a little of what’s happening in schools, are the vessels of the Fleet of the Origami Line...
Fleet of the Origami Line
Please note: Paper boat building in Clydeside schools is far from finished.
More vessels are currently in production and in the order book.
* Aileymill Primary, Inverclyde - P1
* Dalry Primary, North Ayrshire - P1-P7
* St Fillan’s Primary, Renfrewshire - P4
* Elmvale Primary, City of Glasgow - P5b
* St Monica’s (Milton) Primary, City of Glasgow - P6
* Gourock Primary, Inverclyde - P6
* St Ninian’s Primary, Inverclyde - P6
* Auchinairn Primary, East Dunbartonshire - P7
* Kilbowie Primary, West Dunbartonshire - P7b
* Braehead Primary, South Ayrshire - P7
* Rothesay Primary, Argyll & Bute - P7
* Sprinburn Academy, City of Glasgow - S1, CfE Technologies
* Inverclyde Academy, Inverclyde - S1 Art & Design
* Notre Dame High School, City of Glasgow - S1 Art & Design
* Lenzie Academy, East Dunbartonshire - S1 Art & Design
* Port Glasgow High School, Inverclyde - S1-S6 Drama
* St Margaret Mary’s Secondary, City of Glasgow - S2, English
* St Andrew’s Secondary, City of Glasgow - S1/S3 Art & Design & S2/S3 Drama
* Rosshall Academy, City of Glasgw - S4 Art & Design
* Bellahouston Academy, City of Glasgow - Higher Geography
* Hillhead High School, City of Glasgow - Advanced Higher, English
* Strathaven Academy, South Lanarkshire - Advanced Higher, Art & Design
'Captain' George Wyllie in 1989 with his Paper Boat, when it launched on the River Clyde in Glasgow. Photograph courtesy Stephen Mansfield and The Scotsman Publications Ltd
The internationally renowned artist who gave the world The Paper Boat and The Straw Locomotive is to be honoured in his home city by a major retrospective exhibition.
George Wyllie, MBE, who died in May this year at the age of 90, will be the subject of In Pursuit of the Question Mark
, which is being curated by his elder daughter, Louise Wyllie.
The exhibition will open at The Mitchell Library in Glasgow on 3 November and run until 2 February, 2013.
Glasgow-born Wyllie described himself as a ‘scul?tor’ because, he said, the question mark should always be at the centre. His ambition as an artist, writer and philosopher was to bring art to the attention of the wider world with an engaging, and often humorous take on his chosen subjects.
The former customs and excise officer achieved world-wide recognition with his artwork, which he only started making when he was in his 40s.
Louise Wyllie said: “My father always said he preferred miscalculations as they offered more promising results. This exhibition is a tribute to this guerilla-style approach to making art and involving as many people as he could in the process.
“He knew about the exhibition happening before he died and he was happy that his legacy would be celebrated. It mattered to him that ordinary people engaged in his art because it asked big questions.
“At a recent event to celebrate his work in the Scottish Parliament, leading Scottish contemporary artist, Roderick Buchanan, talked about his influence on him and other artists, such as Turner Prize winner, Douglas Gordon.
“Roddy said, ‘
George taught us to think big’ and it this spirit we are celebrating in the exhibition.”In Pursuit of the Question Mark
will offer a unique survey of Wyllie’s work and the artist’s family are revealing work which has never been seen in public before, including his earliest attempts at oil painting called The Rescue
dating back to 1951.
Some of the artist’s earliest sculptural work has also been tracked down. This includes a Bumper Dolphin, made from old car bumpers, dating to the 1960s, which was a focal point Dunoon’s Dolphin Bar for many years. There is also a peacock made from washers and scrap metal, which has been been tracked down along with other early pieces of work from the 1960s, in Motherwell’s United Services Club.
All the major themes in Wyllie’s work will be represented in this exhibition, from boats, to burds, to engines, spires and on to the Cosmos, which he focused on in his latter years. The front door of the exhibition will be guarded by a man-sized robin which Wyllie made with his son-in-law in 2005.
The exhibition also features material which shows the process which led Wyllie to create iconic ephemeral works such as the Straw Locomotive
and the Paper Boat
Unusual items also include a cardboard box containing the ashes of the Straw Locomotive
(burned in a Viking-style funeral at Springburn after being taken down from the Finnieston Crane) and hand-drawn illustrated story books which Wyllie produced to talk out various projects, including The Paper Boat
As part of the Big Little Paper Boat
schools’ project, which will see schools throughout the west of Scotland studying aspects of Wyllie’s approach to creativity, the exhibition will also boast a life-size boat shed housing paper boats made by Scottish school pupils.
The boats will be taken to The Riverside Museum on New Year’s Eve, the date on which Wyllie would have turned 91, and launched in spectacular style in the River Clyde, but visitors to the exhibition will be encouraged to keep adding to the flotilla of paper boats until the exhibition ends on February 3, 2013.
The exhibition is part of a year-long festival being presented by The Friends of George Wyllie, a group established by the artist’s two daughters, Louise and Elaine, under the banner, The Whysman Festival.
The Whysman Festival received funding from First in a Lifetime/Year of Creative Scotland 2012
to stage a host of “Wyllie-esque” activities.
These include a project in Inverclyde, which will see skilled former shipyard workers and community groups, work together to create large Question Marks, which will appear along the Clyde in the last few months of 2012.
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life said: “The George Wyllie Retrospective: In Pursuit of the Question Mark
celebrates the career of one of Scotland's best loved artists. Behind the mischief and the humour in his work was a serious intellect and real talent which Glaswegians instantly appreciated as his international fame grew.”
“George gave the world social sculptures to remember and now his creative legacy will inspire a new generation through this exhibition and an education programme.” GEORGE WYLLIE RETROSPECTIVE: IN PURSUIT OF THE QUESTION MARK
The Mitchell, North Street, Glasgow, G3 7DN www.whysman.co.uk
3 November, 2012 – 2 February, 2013
Open Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm PRESS PREVIEW: 11am on Thursday 1 November For further information & hi-res images please contact: Gordon Boag firstname.lastname@example.org or Jan Patience email@example.com
A WORD TO THE WHYS...
IN PURSUIT OF THE QUESTION MARK
THE WORK OF GEORGE WYLLIE INSPIRES A NEW GENERATION
Paper Boat testing at Elder Park, Govan: Fiona Hylsop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs with school children from Riverside Primary School and St Saviours ( l-r - Elise Caldwell, Zoya Salah, John Cotlet of Riverside and Reegan MacLeod, Josephine Barns and Charley Brown of St Saviours ) assisted by Louise Wyllie, daughter of George Wyllie
Photograph by Drew Farrell
HE GAVE the world social sculptures to remember. The Straw Locomotive and The Paper Boat, to name but two. Now Glasgow-born artist George Wyllie’s creative legacy is set to inspire a new generation, thanks to a £158,510.00 award from the Year of Creative Scotland, 2012.
The Whysman Festival is one of 24 projects across Scotland to receive a First in a Lifetime award from Creative Scotland as part of its Year of Creative Scotland 2012 celebrations. Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, was in Glasgow earlier this week to announce that the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland have boosted their support for the Year of Creative Scotland 2012 by nearly £2.2m, with total investment now hitting nearly £8m.
Engaging the wider world in his creative vision was always part of the plan for former Customs & Excise officer George Wyllie, now aged 90 and living in a care home for retired mariners in Greenock.
His career as an artist took off in his 50s once he had retired and for the next four decades he blazed a trail for subsequent generations of artists, in a practice which encompassed writing, visual art and music.
“My art is place specific and people specific,” he proclaimed in The Why?s Man, Murray Grigor’s 1990 film about him and his work.
In Pursuit of the Question Mark will send sparks flying across the west of Scotland as the art of George Wyllie inspires citizens of all ages to work together to create a spectacular public art event.
Using new education resources inspired by Wyllie's art, and which focus on the outcomes and experiences of Curriculum for Excellence, pupils from Clydeside schools across all levels will have the opportunity to explore industrial change in their area and learn about skills once used there.
Echoing the creation of Wyllie’s famous Paper Boat, the young people will create a flotilla of Origami Line paper boats. Activities inside The Big Little Paper Boat Shed will form a major part of a George Wyllie retrospective at The Mitchell, Glasgow from 3rd November 2012 - January 31 2013.
Wyllie’s abiding concern for loss of skills once used in Scotland's heavy industries will also raise up a clarion call to action for unemployed and retired skilled workers to engage with disadvantaged members of communities in Inverclyde.
These stalwarts of the shipyards will help create two giant question marks hanging simultaneously from the Finnieston Crane in Glasgow and from Greenock’s Titan Crane, as well as a seascape of varying sized question marks appearing and disappearing on the tidal flow at Port Glasgow.
The grand finale of both The Whysman Festival and the Year of Creative Scotland 2012 will be a fireworks party at The Riverside Museum on Hogmanay 2012 (George’s 91st birthday) at which when thousands of BIG little paper boats will be launched on the Clyde and the BIG question marks will be ceremonially burned.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said: "Throughout the Year of Creative Scotland 2012, people and visitors in every corner of Scotland are being encouraged to see, experience and contribute to Scotland's rich, vibrant culture.
"We have experienced an overwhelming level of interest in the Year of Creative Scotland's funding programmes, demonstrating the remarkable impact that the Year is having on Scotland's communities.
"Supported initiatives, like the Big Little Paper Boats project, are helping to showcase, celebrate and promote Scotland's cultural and creative strengths. I am pleased to announce today, that a further £2.2 million will enable the expansion of this important work - taking the total support for the Year to almost £8 million."
Kenneth Fowler, Director of Communications at Creative Scotland, said: “The staggering response we’ve received to the Year of Creative Scotland is proof of what a creative nation Scotland is. It is with great delight we’ve been able to increase the budget, allowing us to take forward even more inspiring and engaging projects.
“This announcement sees the creation of an inspiring range of events that will offer people across the country unique experiences to join in the celebrations of Year of Creative Scotland 2012. George Wyllie’s project on Hogmanay is one of many exciting ways to celebrate the end of the year, but its legacy will continue on towards Homecoming 2014 and beyond”
Wyllie’s daughter, Louise Wyllie, the driving force behind The Whysman Festival said: “My father always said his art was place specific and people specific and for him, engaging with ordinary people through his work was what it was all about.
“So far, he has lived through 90 fantastically creative years in Scotland, bringing social sculptures such as The Paper Boat and The Straw Locomotive to the wider world's attention. We look forward to building on this legacy, thanks to this First in a Lifetime award.”
ANSWERS TO POTENTIAL QUESTIONS...
* George Wyllie, MBE, born December 31 1921, born in Shettleston, Glasgow, formerly Customs & Excise officer, Greenock
* Work exhibited: UK, Europe, India, and the US. Monumental scul?tures permanently installed in urban settings world-wide.
* Whys? Man: Wyllie places question mark at centre of everything. His works asks audience to do the same. (Also title of 1990 film about the artist by Murray Grigor)
* Due to funding by Creative Scotland, his work and legacy will now be explored and experienced by a new generation of Scots. (First in a Lifetime)
* Education Initiative: Up to 575 schools in Clydeside local authorities will be provided with resources and CPD opportunities in order to provide pupils, at all levels of Curriculum for Excellence, with the opportunity to investigate Wyllie's work in depth and to create their own... The BIG Little Paper Boat Project
* Education resources, including videos and digital images of Wyllie's work, will be provided online, and legacy resources will be made available to all local authorities in Scotland
* School pupils' work will be featured in the retrospective at The Mitchell from 3 November 2012 – 31 January 2013
* Community Initiative: Unemployed, employed and retired skilled workers from Clydeside will engage with disadvantaged members of communities in Inverclyde to help create two giant question marks which will hang from the Finnieston Crane in Glasgow and the Titan Crane in Greenock, as well as a seascape of question marks in Port Glasgow... The Big Question Marks
* Up to 32 question marks will be created and hang from the structures
* Around 30 participants will work intensively over a two-month period, developing new skills
* Documentary film of the community initiative to be created as a legacy resource
* Community work will be featured in the retrospective at The Mitchell from 3 November 2012 – 31 January
* Whysman Festival and Year of Creative Scotland 2012 Finale on George Wyllie's 91st birthday.
* Flotilla of paper boats created by young people to be launched on the Clyde on Hogmanay 2012, Wyllie's 91st birthday
* The Question Marks created in the community initiative will be set alight in a Viking Funeral, echoing ceremonial burning of The Straw Locomotive in 1988
* Event will be filmed and archived online
* The Whysman Festival is taking place during 2012 and has been instigated by The Friends of George Wyllie, set up by Louise Wyllie and Elaine Aitken to promote and protect their father’s legacy.
On May 4, 1987, The Straw Locomotive was hoisted into position on the Finnieston Crane, in Glasgow. It was burned in a Viking-style funeral later that summer at Springburn Engineering Works
MAY DAY IN GOVAN
... The Whysman Festival
headed to George's old stomping ground for an event organised by artists Matt Baker and Tara Beall of Nothing About Us Without Us Is For Us
, working in tandem with The Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (GI).
George was born in Shettleston, but raised in Craigton, Govan, and spent his formative years in the shadow of the shipyards, so he has a very strong connection to the area.
The night was MC'd by Liz Gardiner of Fablevision
, a social media enterprise before the phrase social media had even been coined. Liz has know George since she was a girl as her dad played in George's band and as she revealed on the night, she has worked with him on many a George-ish project...
'Some Questions' would have delighted him in so many ways... the plan was to show three films; Murray & Barbara Grigor's 1990 film The Why?s Man
, Cinema Action's 1971 film on the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Work-In & The Govan Raid, a film of a publish art event by Matt Baker in 2011.
There was also an illustrated talk by historian Tim Clarkson, author of Men of the North, about Govan's long-lost Doomster Hill.
It was great to see The Whys? Man film on a big(ish) screen. You take in so much more. Everyone nodded in agreement when Liz said afterwards that the part which always affects her, is the scene where cranes topple to a soundtrack of elegiac music alongside the voice of the late Rev Norman Orr, chaplain for the shipyards of Glasgow and the man who blessed George's Paper Boat in 1990.
Tim Clarkson's talk, all about Govan as the ancient seat of the Kings of Strathclyde and the part in which Doomster Hill - a strange cake-like grassy mound - played in their rise and fall.
Matt Baker described it this way in the Nothing About Us Without Us blog:
"There we were, about 30 of us, innocently watching Murray and Barbara Grigor's film about George Wyllie (The Why?s man)...then listening to Tim Clarkson's evocation of Govan's Doomster Hill
- then Wham! before we knew it we were all pitched into an impassioned collective cry for Govan's history to be recognised in the future. There we were - resolving to make representation to the powers that be....even a community buy-out
of Water Row was discussed.This revolutionary zeal was then further inflamed by Cinema Action's 1971 film about the Upper Clyde Shipbuilder's 'work-in' UCS1"
George's book of collected poems, Some Serious, Some Not, Some Not Even That, was launched in style at Glasgow's gallus book festival, Aye Write. It was a full house and we had a host of well-known names reading poems and making music. A couple of street dancers from Manchester even turned up.
Fergus Thom of Wee Epics in Carrbridge (www.wee-epics.com) is our official film-maker for the duration of The Whysman Festival. We love this film...