THE question was at the centre of his art. Now a giant representation of a question mark is being laid in Scottish sculptor George Wyllie’s hometown in a celebration of his legacy.

Today sees the official opening of the George Wyllie Memorial Garden in the seaside town of Gourock, in Inverclyde, six years after the death of the influential artist, at 90.

Glasgow-born Wyllie, a former sailor, is best remembered for his Paper Boat and Straw Locomotive projects, which gained international attention in the 1980s.

His work is still seen by thousands of people every day, with the Running Clock outside Buchanan Street bus station, and the giant maternity pin in Rottenrow among two of the public artworks he conceived for Glasgow.

Yet the £30,000 garden, part of an ongoing regeneration of Gourock, is the first such commemoration in the town where he lived and worked for most of his life.

The opening will be attended by the artist's family.

His daughter Elaine said: “Normally this sort of thing ends up as a sculpture trail, and my father always said that sculpture trails were cemeteries for dead art. This is quite simple and effective. It’s a garden with a question mark in it and a few seats. I think he would really like that.

“And he would like the fact that it was the people of Gourock themselves who have decided to do it. People are what mattered to him, and for them to have come forward and say that this is important to them would have mattered very much to him.

“If he’d been alive he would have used that wee garden for sure. It’s a nice little meeting place.”

Wyllie’s work had close associations with shipbuilding on the Clyde. The self-taught artist, who worked as a customs and excise officer after the war, described his art as ‘scul?ture’ and insisted that the question should be at the centre of everything.

Today’s opening of the Memorial Garden, funded by Inverclyde Council and delivered by Riverside Inverclyde, also sees an exhibition of thousands of Wyllie-inspired boats in the Inverclyde town’s Heritage Centre.

This Little Boat brings together thousands of tiny boats in a project created by Fife art teacher Kathryn Brown, which has seen people from around the world, including international celebrities, decorate floatilla of small origami-style boats cut from plywood.

Ms Brown found a discarded model boat in a skip, and posted it around the world on a peace mission to help teach pupils about local, and global, citizenship.

The project led to thousands of similar boats being decorated and sent to the teacher including those from singers Eric Clapton, Paloma Faith, New Order’s Bernard Sumner and Terry Hall, of The Specials.

Ms Brown will now bring the collection to Gourock Heritage Centre to mark the opening of the Wyllie Garden.

The ongoing project is inspired, in part, by Wyllie’s seafaring symbolism, and his famed Paper Boat, which was launched on the Clyde and sailed on the Thames and the Hudson, in New York.

Ms Brown, a teacher at Inverkeithing High School, said: “George questioned where the energy goes when you take down the cranes and you’re not building the boats anymore, but yet the people are still there, still with that energy and innate creativity. For me, art and being creative gives people a sense of purpose.”

The idea for the garden came from members of the Gourock Town Centre Regeneration Forum.

Chairman Councillor Ronnie Ahlfeld said: “George Wyllie was described as a conjurer of concepts and his appeal and influence is felt far beyond Gourock and Inverclyde.

“The new garden is a fantastic opportunity to reclaim a part of his legacy, to bring him back to where he spent most of his life in a sense, and all to the benefit of local people and visitors.”