Recently, the National Gallery of Australia, based in Canberra, reported that it had commissioned artist Patricia Piccinini to make a mate for the iconic ‘Skywhale’.
In 2013, Piccinini was commissioned to create a piece of art to celebrate the centenary of the city. Skywhale – an almost grotesque, but hugely adorable hot air balloon – was born. The ‘sculpture’ is said to valorise nurturing maternal figures. It features a tortoise-like face smiling enigmatically, a bird-like tail, and its most remarkable features are its breast-like udders, which have attracted controversy.
The new sculpture, set to be unveiled next year, will be called Skywhalepapa and centres on the significance of fatherhood. This balloon is reported to feature an upright whale-shaped figure carrying his young under his arms and on his back. A companion piece to Skywhale, the two will form a family and travel across the vast skies of Australia next year.
Skywhale has already toured Australia and has been exhibited in Japan, Ireland, and Brazil. Onlookers have enjoyed watching the whale fly serenely about the sky, and fans have loved it so much that some have reportedly tattooed the shape of the Skywhale onto their bodies.
These two pieces form part of an initiative organised by the National Gallery of Australia to place more art by women into the limelight.
If you want to take your own family on an adventure across the skies closer to home, we offer magical hot air balloon rides in Bath, Bristol, and other areas of the south west.