The Skywhale is an enormous flying whale with several equally enormous tits and that is very funny. I am sorry if this is controversial,or if this outs me as some sort of ‘art simpleton’, but I cannot pretend that this is not the case. Created by artist Patricia Piccinini, The Skywhale is a giant hot air balloon that is most recognisable for its beatific, maternal smile and its dangling collection of heaving inflatable norks. In my personal opinion, this rules. If this isn’t enough to get you onboard, what’s even funnier is just how mad people got about it. Somehow, these mirthless chuckleheads couldn’t stand to see approximately $300,000 of taxpayer money get spent on a big-titty aerial cetacean, much to the dismay of its owner and pilot.
But, as I always suspected it would, the Skywhale has prevailed, with its continued existence assured by the addition of a partner and children to the Skywhale’s pod. The Skywhale will be returning to Canberra as part of the National Gallery of Australia’s 2020 program, alongside Skywhalepapa and a litter of Skywhale children. From the program:
Skywhalepapa is the new companion piece to Skywhale, 2013, which returns to Canberra after six years touring Australia and the world. Together they form a skywhale family that will be launched near the Gallery and take flight over Canberra eight times during the exhibition period. The sculptures will then float across the skies of Australia as a National Gallery travelling exhibition.
Piccinini says the new children are intentionally of unclear providence. “Skywhale was always about maternity and care, and I believe that care is a value – and a responsibility – that should not be confined one gender,” she told the Guardian Australia. “He is a celebration of care. It’s not clear if the children are all his or if he is caring for all of the children in the pod.”
According to the program, Skywhales: Every heart sings will be taking to the skies between March 7 and May 30 next year.Image: AAP / ALAN PORRITT