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Meet the SkyWhale, here to join the Centenary Celebrations

By Canberra100 9 May 2013 85

skywhale

Think of Canberra and visions of hot air balloons drifting over the lake on a crisp autumn morning come to mind.

It’s therefore no surprise that in our Centenary year a hot air balloon sculpture has been commissioned to celebrate Canberra’s love of, and reputation for, hot air ballooning. What might be a surprise however is the form that this commission has taken.

Centenary Creative Director Robyn Archer AO aim with this commission was to offer the highly visible canvas of a hot-air balloon to an Australian artist.

Enter internationally renowned artist Patricia Piccinini, who grew up in Canberra attending school, college and university here. Patricia says she grew up as a ‘real migrant kid’ in Canberra without privilege, and yet was exposed to a level of information and learning which has fuelled her spirit and her work.

“Patricia Piccinini is one of Australia’s most successful sculptors. Her work is seen in major collections in Australia, and a survey show broke all attendance records for the Tasmanian Museum and Gallery,” Robyn said.

“To my delight Patricia was immediately responsive to the idea of her work in a new form, and insisted that it would not be a novelty but a continuation of her ouevre and its years of investigation into the way life has evolved.”

“This is exactly what the new work is, and we are so proud to have been able to find the resources to help this great artist make it happen. That Patricia was educated in Canberra also makes this a celebration of the fine talent that the national capital has and continues to produce.”

The Skywhale will be outside the National Gallery of Australia on Saturday at 8.30am, and on Monday it will make its first flight over Canberra.

Look out for The Skywhale over Canberra on Monday.

FACTS ABOUT THE SKYWHALE CENTENARY OF CANBERRA COMMISSION

  • The Skywhale balloon weighs about 500kg with fuel and people (pilot and two passengers) on board.
  • It is 22.7m tall.
  • The balloon is 34.4m long from nose to tail.
  • It took 1880 man and woman hours of work to make.
  • 256 different colours make up the Skywhale. 
  • The Skywhale used 3535 metres of fabric.
  • Approximately 3.3 million stitches hold the Skywhale together.
  • The Skywhale took seven months to design and build from start to finish.
  • Six people were needed to stitch the Skywhale together.
  • A team of 16 created the Skywhale

What’s Your opinion?


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Meet the SkyWhale, here to join the Centenary Celebrations
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GardeningGirl 11:49 am 12 May 13

Ben_Dover said :

. . Oh, “publicity for Canberra”?????

“Come to Canberra, we’ve wasted $300,000 on a titty carp which wont be flying here!!!”

Googling to see how far the fame has spread, I found an article in CNN’s travel section. http://travel.cnn.com/monstrous-skywhale-hot-air-balloon-takes-skies-canberra-747281 Great photos, Mt Arapiles looks amazing, makes me want to visit Victoria.

Ben_Dover 7:22 am 12 May 13

Mr Evil said :

Zed said :

the resemblence to Katy is uncanny!

Actually, to tell you the truth, it reminded me more of Rosemary Follett.

Come off it, it’s Vickie Dunne on a nudist beach!

Oh, “publicity for Canberra”?????

“Come to Canberra, we’ve wasted $300,000 on a titty carp which wont be flying here!!!”

Mr Evil 11:12 pm 11 May 13

Zed said :

the resemblence to Katy is uncanny!

Actually, to tell you the truth, it reminded me more of Rosemary Follett.

Felix the Cat 8:39 pm 11 May 13

I don’t dislike it, as art it’s not my cup of tea but I can appreciate everybody has different tastes so that’s ok, but I think there are much more worthy causes to spend $330K on, like hospitals, schools, roads etc.

I guess too that even though to look at it there is no connection to Canberra it has done it’s job at getting people talking about Canberra. Even if most people think the Skywhale looks silly and is a waste of money. Any publicity is good publicity…so they say.

harley 6:41 pm 11 May 13

54-11 said :

Because it’s expensive; because it’s good for only 100 flights; because it’s not owned by the ACT government despite paying for it; and because it won’t even be flying in Canberra. And because it’s crap.

I didn’t know about point 1, I only learned about point 2 15 minutes ago (so I can here to make sure everyone knew), I’m glad about point 3 because of point 4.

Will my $1 refund come as a cheque?

switch 6:36 pm 11 May 13

Postalgeek said :

And finally we have our own Big Skywhale, and it craps all over the Big Banana, the Big Merino, the Big Lobster, the Big Pineapple, and even Robertson’s Big Turd.

…from a great height, too.

ps Isn’t Robertson’s big thing really meant to be a potato?

54-11 5:31 pm 11 May 13

blind said :

Piccinini is a massively successful international artist, she represented Australia at the Venice Biennale and she comes from Canberra. She might well be Canberra’s most successful artist working in the world today. What’s controversial about commissioning her to do something for the arts program of the Canberra Centenary?

Because it’s expensive; because it’s good for only 100 flights; because it’s not owned by the ACT government despite paying for it; and because it won’t even be flying in Canberra. And because it’s crap.

Deref 12:25 pm 11 May 13

what_the said :

I get that art is subjective, but if its for the centenary then shouldn’t it at least try and appeal to and represent the majority of Canberra and its residents?

Sooooo…a white Commodore ute?

kyhigh 11:08 pm 10 May 13

gazket said :

misogynist balloon and it’s disgusting

Boobs. So misogynist. Much like this right?- http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bd/Femaleeunuch.gif

GardeningGirl 6:54 pm 10 May 13

what_the said :

I get that art is subjective, but if its for the centenary then shouldn’t it at least try and appeal to and represent the majority of Canberra and its residents?

+1

sien said :

Canberra commemorates itself with hugely expensive silly deal to buy object of hot air.

Comedy Gold.

LOL

mezza76 4:48 pm 10 May 13

Postalgeek said :

I’d like to know how many dollars in advertising have been spent over the years to raise the profile of Canberra, and why they didn’t think of this.

And finally we have our own Big Skywhale, and it craps all over the Big Banana, the Big Merino, the Big Lobster, the Big Pineapple, and even Robertson’s Big Turd.

Have to say – while I was originally horrified at the cost – the free media coverage will probably see the $300k as a bargain – for both city and artist alike. Im not sure im a fan of it artisically, but by being a bit controversial (eg. see National museum), it’s made headlines.

gazket 4:40 pm 10 May 13

misogynist balloon and it’s disgusting .
More Labour waste

sien 4:31 pm 10 May 13

Canberra commemorates itself with hugely expensive silly deal to buy object of hot air.

Comedy Gold.

M0les 4:20 pm 10 May 13

|8-D

Postalgeek 4:19 pm 10 May 13

I’d like to know how many dollars in advertising have been spent over the years to raise the profile of Canberra, and why they didn’t think of this.

And finally we have our own Big Skywhale, and it craps all over the Big Banana, the Big Merino, the Big Lobster, the Big Pineapple, and even Robertson’s Big Turd.

Ghettosmurf87 4:16 pm 10 May 13

Watson said :

It’s absurd and therefor I have to love it. And I love that so many hate it.

Actually, I think it is almost justified to call this surreal, isn’t it?

And it will make toddlers cry, young kids search the sky in anticipation and stoned teenagers ROFL.

I also don’t get why so many still worry about what non-Canberrans think about Canberra. I thought would have thought we would’ve all become immune to the Canberra bashing by now and seen it as an opportunity to rile everyone else up by acting increasingly eccentric. That’s what this whale-with-inflamed-fins seems to perfectly visualise!

+1

EvanJames 4:11 pm 10 May 13

Spiral said :

I vote we start a fund raiser to buy the poor thing a bra.

Wins the prize!

I dunno, it’s so bizarre, it’s kind-of fun.

Spiral 3:54 pm 10 May 13

I vote we start a fund raiser to buy the poor thing a bra.

Watson 3:01 pm 10 May 13

It’s absurd and therefor I have to love it. And I love that so many hate it.

Actually, I think it is almost justified to call this surreal, isn’t it?

And it will make toddlers cry, young kids search the sky in anticipation and stoned teenagers ROFL.

I also don’t get why so many still worry about what non-Canberrans think about Canberra. I thought would have thought we would’ve all become immune to the Canberra bashing by now and seen it as an opportunity to rile everyone else up by acting increasingly eccentric. That’s what this whale-with-inflamed-fins seems to perfectly visualise!

Zed 3:01 pm 10 May 13

the resemblence to Katy is uncanny!

5

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