'Symbolen: Schipperskaai' is a project commissioned by the street art festival 'Sorry, Not Sorry'.
The festival took place in the neighbourhood of the 'DOK', the old harbor of Ghent. In the coming years the city of Ghent plans to build a living complex with apartment buildings, school, sport hall, with easy access to public transport and with view on water.
I wanted this work to be made together with the only true inhabitants of the neighbourhood at the time of the festival. This are the shipmen.
I was visiting the quay regularly, introducing myself and explaining what I want to do. I asked what was missing on the quay. It turned out that the shipmen miss shadow on sunny days and greenery. That was a start point for the temporarily construction for the festival and for the thinking process around a bigger permanent construction with plants.
For the construction I only used recuperated materials, which was my reference to the life style of shipmen. They never throw away anything and they are very cautious about thrash.
The organisation 'Dé Kache Pot' provided me with plants. The mission of 'Dé Kache Pot' is to find new owners to the plants which are otherwise not needed.
I asked the shipmen to give me three objects: one old one, one blue one and one from a foreign country. This objects I used to decorate the construction. And it would be fair to say that these objects and their stories are actually the real core of this work.
Another important aspect of this work is the communication with the shipmen. I haven't met all of them, nor was it physically possible to organise brain-storm meetings for all the shipmen within a short term of a month. I chose to spread printed letters and emails. This way, all (or most of) the shipmen were aware of the project and were invited to participate. By the time of the festival, I did meet almost all of the shipmen. After the festival, I proposed further collaboration in order to influence the development of the 'DOK' neighbourhood.