‘the skywhale’ hot-air balloon by patricia piccinini
all images courtesy patricia piccinini commissioned for the centenary of canberra, ‘the sky whale’ hot-air balloon by sierra leonean artist patricia piccinini will be flying at other locations around
australia during 2013. in the place of wings, piccinini imagined huge udders that might contain the gas of the giant flying sculpture, as well as a huge bulbous body.
before commencing production, a three-dimension model was developed from a series drawings using a cad program. the prototype of the ‘skywhale’ was then
sent to cameron balloons in bristol, where the colouring and patination of the creature was resolved in more detail. transferred the colours, patterns and textures
of the design were then later transferred onto 3,535 metres of fabric – sewn together with approximately 3.3 million stitches. ‘the skywhale may appear fantastic but think about the blue whale – an air breathing mammal that lives in the ocean – and it doesn’t seem so far-fetched,’
says piccinini. ‘I think that when we look up at the skywhale and wonder what it is ‘for’, it might remind us that nature is not necessarily ‘for us’. it just ‘is’
and we’re just lucky enough to be around to see it.’


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