18 Nov 2013

Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale in Melbourne

Monday 2 December, 2013

The hot-air balloon sculpture designed by Patricia Piccinini for the Centenary of Canberra celebrations will make its first appearance in Melbourne on the morning of Monday 2nd December.

Patricia Piccinini, Skywhale, 2013. Photo: Martin Ollman

The Skywhale, twice the size of a standard hot air balloon and weighing half a tonne, will be tethered on the ACCA Forecourt from 7am – 9am (weather permitting) ahead of a special breakfast conversation between Patricia Piccinini and Robyn Archer AO, Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra.  

Made from 3.5 kilometres of fabric, the Skywhale is 34 metres long and 23 metres high, and an unsettling yet endearingly vulnerable hybrid bird-sea creature that continues Patricia’s questioning of what is natural and what is artificial.  

It was first unveiled at the National Gallery of Australia during the Sculpture: Space and Place symposium and has since flown several times in Canberra and once in Tasmania.  This is the first time the Skywhale will be seen in Melbourne.


The Skywhale, ACCA Forecourt (Grant Street side), Monday 2 December.
The Skywhale will be tethered on the ACCA Forecourt from 7-9am, and Patricia Piccininini and Robyn Archer AO will be present from 7.30am and available for photos/interviews.  Inflation of the Skywhale is expected to begin at 7.30am.  
Broadcast quality footage and high res images of the Skywhale aflight will be available for media on this day.  
NB:  The Skywhale will take a flight over Melbourne’s skyline at some stage during the week beginning December 2nd.  Details to be advised and are also weather permitting.

Patricia Piccinini will be in conversation with Robyn Archer AO, Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra and commissioner of the Skywhale, at a special breakfast event hosted by ACCA in partnership with Leonard Joel.
Monday 2 December, 8.00 – 9.00am.  Tickets (adults $15, students/seniors $8) include a complimentary breakfast pastry.

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 111 Sturt St, Southbank.
10am – 5pm including weekends and public holidays
Wednesdays open late till 8pm, Monday by appointment .
Tel: 03 9697 9999.  Admission: Free.

ACCA is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

The Skywhale is a Centenary of Canberra project, proudly supported by the ACT Government.

For further media information:  Katrina Hall 0421153046 or