Skywhale and Skywhalepapa to grace Canberra’s sky for the first time in February

Dominic Giannini 11 January 2021 27
Skywhale and Skywhalepapa

Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale and Skywhalepapa. Photo: National Gallery of Australia.

Skywhale and Skywhalepapa will be seen for the first time together publicly on 6 February as the hot air balloons fly over Parkes.

Only artist’s sketches of the 10-storey Skywhalepapa have been released so far, so Canberrans lucky enough to get a spot at John Dunmore Lang Place will witness the inaugural family flight.

It will feature in Canberra as a National Gallery Touring Exhibition.

Jess Green and the Luminescence Children’s Choir will also be playing a special live performance of We are the Skywhales.

Skywhalepapa sketch

Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhalepapa sketch. Photo: National Gallery of Australia.

Patricia Piccinini’s seven-storey Skywhale first flew across Canberra in 2013 before she announced the second member of the family in 2019.

The original Skywhale stirred quite a controversy in Canberra for its design and cost when it was commissioned by the then Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.

The controversy even led to another former Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, to label the artwork as too divisive for the public, saying it was not a positive experience for the ACT Government.

It ended up costing around $350,000 and has become a Canberran pop culture icon.

Skywhalepapa was originally set to grace Canberra’s skies in 2020 before being pushed back because of the pandemic.

“With a single Skywhale figure we have a character, but with the two we have a relationship and a narrative,” Piccinini said.

“One of the things that I love about Skywhalepapa is that it is a sculpture, but it is also a performance — an event.”

Patricia Piccinini and Skywhale

Patricia Piccinini and the Skywhale hot air balloon. Photo: National Gallery of Australia.

The number of people at the event will be limited due to COVID-19 safety requirements and people will need to remain seated throughout.

While the event will remain free, Canberrans will need to register ahead of time. Registrations will open in mid-January.

The Skywhale and Skywhalepapa will launch at 5:30 am on 6 February and also fly on 8 March and 3 April 2021.

Visit the dedicated event page or the National Gallery website for more information.


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27 Responses to Skywhale and Skywhalepapa to grace Canberra’s sky for the first time in February
Dianne Elizabeth Dianne Elizabeth 12:55 pm 15 Jan 21

Can’t believe they funded another one 😹

Nell Feneck Nell Feneck 7:41 am 11 Jan 21

Yuk how disgusting

Mookie Moo Mookie Moo 1:56 am 11 Jan 21

Fantastic! Wish I was there to see them

Kate Kirk Kate Kirk 9:23 pm 10 Jan 21

Mary Moore Lachy Moore Kieran Kirk important stuff for February

Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:28 pm 10 Jan 21

This is revenge art on steroids. It will traumatize our young people.

Faith Dwyer-van Dyk Faith Dwyer-van Dyk 9:14 am 10 Jan 21

Jilly Storrs are you excited

Bridget Kerr Bridget Kerr 9:01 am 10 Jan 21

Maxine we’re going yeah?

Timmy Holness Timmy Holness 5:41 am 10 Jan 21

Can’t wait as people looked at me in disbelief when describing this to others

Eric Anthony Lucas Eric Anthony Lucas 4:43 am 10 Jan 21

I will try to be away!

Toni Isaacson Toni Isaacson 11:30 pm 09 Jan 21

Not again!!! Hard to stomach the first time around.

Andrea Mya Riboust Andrea Mya Riboust 11:29 pm 09 Jan 21

Claire Emily we should go see them! After all this time promoting them... also I wonder if PP could make costumes out of them? 😆 one for me and you 😅

David Newman David Newman 10:09 pm 09 Jan 21

‘Grace’ ??? 😂 Ugly bloody things

Anne Lawson Anne Lawson 9:58 pm 09 Jan 21

Sarah Bee Slaughter oo must keep out for bookings

Sue Skinner Sue Skinner 9:41 pm 09 Jan 21

What a waste.....imagine how many young people in the creative arts who could've benefited from the money wasted on this...

Katy Did Katy Did 9:27 pm 09 Jan 21

The ugliest creatures on the face of the earth representing Canberra-WHY?

Robyn Baer Robyn Baer 8:47 pm 09 Jan 21

They look revolting.

Shani O'Halloran Shani O'Halloran 8:44 pm 09 Jan 21

Sienna Nolan perfect timing, we’re home that weekend

Charlie Karmenu Flask Charlie Karmenu Flask 8:36 pm 09 Jan 21

Ugliest things I've ever seen

Karen Dobinson Karen Dobinson 8:33 pm 09 Jan 21

Fleur the sky whale and sky whalepapa 🤔😂

    Fleur Fenech Fleur Fenech 10:21 pm 09 Jan 21

    Karen Dobinson hahahahaha now I’ve got to see this

Helen Bastin Mulley Helen Bastin Mulley 8:20 pm 09 Jan 21

They are so ugly

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