Tickets for next month’s launch of the iconic Skywhale hot air balloon were released for sale this week, and they will enable Canberrans to catch a glimpse of this eye-catching aeronautical device created by local artist Patricia Piccinini.
Skywhale was originally commissioned by the city of Canberra to mark the city’s centenary in 2013. It was – and remains – a controversial piece of public art. In part, this is because the Skywhale balloon features rotund udder-like protrusions along each of its sides. Piccinini has responded that the udders symbolise nurturing and life-giving power, representing how whales feed their calves.
This time, Skywhale will be accompanied by Skywhalepapa – an equally unusual creature – who will be making his first appearance at the launch event next month. Skywhalepapa also has a marine animal form and carries a clutch of ‘skybabies’ under his fins. Piccinini intends this balloon to represent a masculine role in caregiving and childrearing, which has been underplayed in traditional family structures.
Both balloons will soar across the skies of Canberra over three dates to celebrate the reopening of the Skywhale exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. The event, entitled ‘Skywhale: Every heart sings’, will be accompanied by an immersive sonic experience to add to the otherworldly ambience of the apparition of these balloon creatures.
Hot air balloons never fail to capture the imagination. For a chance to experience your own otherworldly encounter, hot air ballooning adventures in the skies over Bath, Bristol and other parts of the south west are available.