A special container of the shipping company Hamburg Süd set off on its journey in the spring of 2020. The artist Jeannine Platz had previously transformed the 12-metre-long and 2.5-metre-high steel box into a unique work of art. On one side of the container, Platz painted a picture of the Port of Hamburg using only her hands. On the other side, she painted a quotation from a seafarer: “You dip your finger into the sea and you are in touch with the whole world.”
The container-turned-artwork left the Port of Hamburg on 25 May 2020 on a Hamburg Süd ship. This was at a time when the coronavirus pandemic had closed almost all international borders worldwide, forced all travel to grind to a halt, and limited the freedom of movement of people around the world. In this way, the container with its hand-painted message was – and continues to be – a symbol of how maritime global trade transcends closed borders.
After being in use for almost 18 months and travelling to five continents around the world, the painted container is now back home in Hamburg – just in time for the 150th anniversary of Hamburg Süd. After it arrived in the Port of Hamburg on 25 October 2021, the artist who painted the container’s exterior filled its interior with the names of all the ports it had visited on its global voyage.
Hamburg Süd’s painted container can be visited on Dar es Salaam Square in front of Hamburg’s International Maritime Museum until 25 November.