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Skywhale on glass
Photograph: Courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia

The Skywhale takes off again next month with a new companion

It'll be joined by Patricia Picinini's new Skywhalepapa at the National Gallery of Australia

Divya Venkataraman

It's back: the looming, 34-metre-long manatee-like spectre that first soared above Australian skies in 2013, and has possibly haunted your dreams ever since, is returning to claim its space in the sky in 2021. This year, the Skywhale will be joined by a new addition, too. 

Patricia Pucinini, known for her strange and surreal renderings which meld human and animal forms into one, is creating a new Skywhalepapa to join the famous Skywhale, which was originally commissioned to mark the centenary of Canberra and has since been flown all around the world. Now, both the original and its new family member will set off into the sky together, floating above Canberra's National Gallery of Australia over three separate mornings in February and April. Viewers can catch it at 5.30am on Saturday, February 6, Monday, March 8, and finally on Saturday, April 3. 

Canberrans can check out the creations in their fleshy, vaguely extraterrestrial glory for free, but will have to register beforehand. The National Gallery has also been home to an exhibition dedicated to Pucinini's work, titled Patricia Pucinini: Skywhales since March of 2020, which will continue running until August 1, 2021. While Sydneysiders aren't currently able to travel to Canberra without an exemption, we're hoping that'll change by April. 

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