Coming soon to a sky near you!

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Created for the Canberra Centenerary, and on loan to Brisbane: The Skywhale!

Giant hot air artwork The Skywhale to hover over Brisbane Powerhouse this week.

Don’t be alarmed if you see a giant anomalistic creature residing near Brisbane Powerhouse later this week. First seen hovering over the city of Canberra last year, the controversial hot-air artwork, The Skywhale, is making her way to Brisbane. Gifted from the Centenary of Canberra, The Skywhale will make three appearances from Wednesday 19 – Friday 21 February 2014 – coinciding with the APAM.

Created by internationally renowned artist and former Canberran Patricia Piccinini, at 34m long and 23m high, The Skywhale is at least twice as big as a standard hot-air balloon, weighs half a tonne and used more than 3.5km of fabric. It took 16 people seven months and more than 3.3million stitches to design and make and will carry a pilot plus two passengers to an altitude of 3000ft.

Patricia spoke of her creation, highlighting that the key purpose of its nature is to be a cryptic work.

“I don’t really want to tell people what exactly to think about the Skywhale. That is very much up to them. However, Skywhale for me is something of a meditation on nature and evolution, which are two things that fascinate me.

“Fifty million years ago whales were small dog-like mammals with hoofs called pakicetidae. Somehow they went back to the sea and became huge and intelligent. In that context, the idea that the journey could have ended in the air, with a creature like the Skywhale, is not so ridiculous.”

Piccinini is one of Australia’s best-known contemporary artists and works in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, video, sound and digital prints and has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Victoria and Albert Museum London, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and one of the world’s leading art shows, Documenta in Kassel, Germany.

According to Patricia she was very happy for the Centenary of Canberra commission to be gifted to Brisbane Powerhouse with the vision that it would tour throughout Australia and the world.

“I hope that she can be source of joy and wonder; that she can just fly and fly and fly.”

Viewings of The Skywhale are scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 6 – 8pm. It will be tethered at the Powerhouse Plaza, near the main entrance to the Brisbane Powerhouse.

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