Skywhale family to take flight this weekend

Canberrans will soon be looking to the skies to see not one but two giant whales flying around for the first time.

As part of National Gallery of Australia’s (NGA) Skywhale: Every Heart Sings exhibition, Patricia Piccinini’s famous Skywhale will be joined by Skywhalepapa.

Together, the two colossal sculptures in the form of hot-air balloons, form a “Skywhale family” that will take to the skies three times over the near three-month period.

The Skywhale family will be launched together for the first time on Sunday, February 7.

The exhibition was planned to launch on Saturday but was postponed to the following day due to unsuitable weather conditions.

The new balloon is reportedly about nine storeys high, 37 metres wide and weighs about 500 kilograms.

It was revealed about one week before the official launch.

Original Skywhalepapa designs showed the male holding babies in his claws, according to the NGA.

“For the artist this reflects the changing role of male caregivers and celebrates a father’s capacity to love and support,” the website explained.

“Together, Skywhale and Skywhalepapa describe different ways of thinking about family and gender roles.”

Piccinini’s Skywhale 2013 was commissioned for Canberra’s centenary celebrations which cost more than $300,000.

The second and final time the hot-air balloon flew solo was back in March last year after being grounded for almost seven years.

Online bookings for this weekend’s flight opened in mid January.

The Skywhale family is scheduled to take flight again on March 8 and April 3.

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