Procida’s waters invaded by a fleet of paper boats

The “Paper Fleet,” a performance led by German Frank Bolter in which hundreds of paper boats attempted to cross the Bay of Naples, was staged in the waters of Procida on April 29. Goal: to send a message of solidarity and welcome.

The sea can also be a magnificent and striking backdrop for an exploit that combines art and social messages. That’s what happened in the waters off Procida last April 29 when a fleet of 2022 paper boats, of colorful origami made by the island’s students symbolically crossed the Bay of Naples.

Leading the unprecedented fleet was German artist Frank Bolter, who in a suit and tie sailed in turn on a giant boat, also made of paper, 9 meters long, built together with children and the island’s citizens in an open-air workshop. The goal of the original performance was to deliver a message with universal value, namely that the world’s problems can be solved with the strength of community, but also to demonstrate the fragility of migrant boats and spread the culture of welcoming diversity. At the end of the crossing, the small boats were then retrieved with the help of volunteers and a representation from local environmental associations.

A collective creation process that teaches a lot

“The Paper Fleet was a collective creation process aimed at generating a metaphor for universal themes such as unity among peoples, with a special focus on the many painful crossings that take place daily in the Mediterranean,” explained Procida 2022 director Agostino Riitano.

As Bolter attempted the crossing, thousands of children were involved in creative workshops curated by “I Teatrini – Centro Campano Teatro di Animazione,” as well as reading and creative writing paths on the themes of inclusion, welcome and cooperation.

Sailitalia boats followed the event

The charter company Sailitalia, a historical reality of the island of Procida that celebrates 35 years of activity this year, followed the event with its catamarans captained by Mimmo, Michele and the “Captains & Crew” from Rome, hosting students and teachers of the Nautical Institute, the school principal, the artistic director of Procida “Capital of Culture,” artists and actors related to the event. The boats in the fleet continued to sail all weekend, bringing around guests of the event who had come from all over the world. In the evening, the celebration concluded with the cutting of the cake and rivers of champagne, on the pier of the Marina di Procida marina, just where the first boat was launched 35 years ago.




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