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Meet the SkyWhale, here to join the Centenary Celebrations

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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85 Responses to Meet the SkyWhale, here to join the Centenary Celebrations
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kyhigh kyhigh 2:15 pm 10 May 13

Ben_Dover said :

It’s bizarre and inappropriate as it has no relevance, no beauty, no function, no worthiness.

It’s a huge white elephant in the shape of a flying tittycarp.

Shit, I totally forgot that beauty was objective.

Thumper Thumper 1:40 pm 10 May 13

Riaction said :

Well it turns out that $170,000 was too good to be true. The Canberra Times is claiming that:

the contract between the ACT Government and the balloon’s provider, Melbourne-based Global Ballooning Pty Limited, reveals the total contract price is $338,000

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-centenary/skywhales-higher-cost-revealed-20130510-2jc68.html

$170,000 KATG is about $300,000 AUS.

As we found out with hospital figures.

what_the what_the 1:26 pm 10 May 13

It looks like someone cut the head off a turkey and Admiral Ackbars head grew back, with tits glued to the side.

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?

Riaction Riaction 1:16 pm 10 May 13

Well it turns out that $170,000 was too good to be true. The Canberra Times is claiming that:

the contract between the ACT Government and the balloon’s provider, Melbourne-based Global Ballooning Pty Limited, reveals the total contract price is $338,000

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-centenary/skywhales-higher-cost-revealed-20130510-2jc68.html

magiccar9 magiccar9 1:08 pm 10 May 13

Ben_Dover said :

It’s a huge white elephant in the shape of a flying tittycarp.

“Tittycarp”….. you’ve just made my day, and possibly my month! I’m going to use that one wherever possible. Thank’s Ben!

Ben_Dover Ben_Dover 12:56 pm 10 May 13

kyhigh said :

nsn said :

I just find it bizarre and inappropriate.

Oh my! Breasts?! Cover them up! Think of the children!

I find it bizarre and inappropriate, which is nothing to do with it having huge floppy tits. You’ve shown your own hangs there mate.

It’s bizarre and inappropriate as it has no relevance, no beauty, no function, no worthiness.

It’s a huge white elephant in the shape of a flying tittycarp.

Ben_Dover Ben_Dover 12:53 pm 10 May 13

blind
11:44 am, 10 May 13
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?

You obviously chose your user name with care.

nsn nsn 12:19 pm 10 May 13

kyhigh said :

nsn said :

I just find it bizarre and inappropriate.

Oh my! Breasts?! Cover them up! Think of the children!

Actually my comment about it being inappropriate had nothing to do with the boobs, just the fact that a ‘skywhale’ bears no relation to the centenary or to Canberra – ie. it’s not appropriate as a centenary of Canberra commission.

I find it odd that you would assume it was a comment on the balloon’s multiple boobs.

My comment about it being scary for small children was a (maybe poorly executed) joke about its hideousness. But that’s just my own view on it as a piece of art – as I said, quite separate from its suitability as a centenary of Canberra commission, which is what I think should be the focus of attention.

rosscoact rosscoact 12:16 pm 10 May 13

johnboy said :

First person to get a skywhale tattoo gets a feature story!

This is the first time I’ve ever been tempted to get a tattoo.

Love the skywhale!

kyhigh kyhigh 12:09 pm 10 May 13

blind said :

BITCHIN IS TEMPORARY

SKYWHALE IS 4 EVA

Especially if you get a Skywhale tattoo…

    johnboy johnboy 12:10 pm 10 May 13

    First person to get a skywhale tattoo gets a feature story!

blind blind 12:01 pm 10 May 13

I’m gonna remember skywhale long after I’ve forgotten everything else that happened this year. So will you.

BITCHIN IS TEMPORARY

SKYWHALE IS 4 EVA

DrKoresh DrKoresh 11:54 am 10 May 13

I’m in two minds about this. On the one hand I think it’s definitely going to draw a lot of people’s attention the world over to Canberra. On the other, it doesn’t have anything to with Canberra or anything Canberran and I don’t know whether I’m meant to take offense or not. It’ll probably grow on me, I hate it less now than I did when I first saw it.

kyhigh kyhigh 11:51 am 10 May 13

nsn said :

I just find it bizarre and inappropriate.

Oh my! Breasts?! Cover them up! Think of the children!

blind blind 11:44 am 10 May 13

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?

nsn nsn 11:33 am 10 May 13

magiccar9 said :

Am I the only one asking WTF does it have to do with Canberra 100?

No, you’re not. If this were just some random art commission, I think I wouldn’t think twice about it (other than maybe to express the view that this thing flying around town is likely to scare children), but as something to mark the centenary of Canberra, I just find it bizarre and inappropriate.

Dick Tracy Dick Tracy 11:30 am 10 May 13

It will be flown about 100hrs mainly interstate according to ACT Gov’s Jeremy Lasek. What will that cost ? I saw one estimate of approx $350,000 !

c_c™ c_c™ 10:17 am 10 May 13

The only beneficiary of this is the artist. This from Robyn Archer:

“It’s a complex contract. The intellectual property belongs to the artist … and she determines in the end when offers come for it to be flown, she determines where it’s flown.”

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-centenary/the-connection-couldnt-be-plainer-20130510-2jbjb.html#ixzz2SqOBXIJX

Outrageous waste.

Ian Ian 10:14 am 10 May 13

Deref said :

It’s certainly different. I’m intrigued as to why the gigaboobs don’t float above it though – how are they held down?

Its a very old skywhale, so just gravity doing its work.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 10:11 am 10 May 13

I guess, if little else, the dear old Skywhale has generated far in excess of $170,000 worth of publicity for Canberra 100.

Assuming all publicity is good publicity.

bundah bundah 10:01 am 10 May 13

Barcham said :

I love the SkyWhale!

I think it’s brilliant and weird.

I think we need to be putting our defence budget into SkyWhales instead of drones.

Other people are less enthused however as evidenced by this clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wif2ouibrIo

Excellent,couldn’t think of a more worthy eyesore that is deserving of a missile attack! Too bad you’re in the small minority there Barcham..

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