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Skywhales: Every Heart Sings

Araluen Arts Centre and the National Gallery present

A National Gallery Touring Event

Title: Skywhales: Every Heart Sings
Artist: Patricia Piccinini (b. born 1965 Sierra Leone, Australia from 1985)
Artworks include: Skywhale, 2013 & Skywhalepapa, 2020

“Every Heart Sings is a project that talks about nature, family, evolution, care and wonder. The skywhales float into our lives to make us smile and think.” – Patricia Piccinini

Patricia Piccinini's Skywhalepapa is a monumental sculpture in the form of a hot-air balloon. A new companion piece to Skywhale, together they form a skywhale family. Following their debut together in Canberra, the sculptures will float across the skies of Australia as a National Gallery Touring Event throughout 2022 and 2023.

Piccinini conceives of Skywhales: Every Heart Sings not only as two sculptures but as a performance: ‘I imagine visitors assembling to watch Skywhalepapa coming to life,’ says Piccinini. ‘With a single skywhale figure we have a character, but with the two we have a relationship, and a narrative.’

Skywhales: Every Heart Sings is a generative project that centres around care and community. The story of the skywhale family is told in Patricia Piccinini’s children’s book Every Heart Sings. A comprehensive online learning resource for primary and secondary students considers concepts of love, care and responsibility in relation to family and environment. Musician Jess Green (AKA Pheno) has created a soundscape and pop song, We are the Skywhales, while keen knitters can make their own soft toys from a pattern developed by Canberra knitter Katy Griffis.

As the skywhales float across the country, Patricia Piccinini calls on communities to engage with them creatively. Bring your picnic baskets, watch in awe, and sing in wonder as the skywhale family takes flight.

Skywhales: Every Heart Sings is a National Gallery of Australia Touring Event, made possible thanks to the generosity of The Naomi Milgrom Foundation and Visions of Australia. Skywhales: Every Heart Sings is the third instalment of The Balnaves Contemporary Series and is a Know My Name project.



Image credits:

1. Patricia Piccinini, Skywhalepapa, 2020, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, © Patricia Piccinini.

2. Patricia Piccinini in Skywhalepapa, © Patricia Piccinini

3. Patricia Piccinini, Skywhale, 2013 and Skywhalepapa, 2020, © Patricia Piccinini


24 September 2022


Saturday 24 September

Blatherskite Park Showgrounds, gates open 5am

Official address 6am

Launch at sunrise



Extra information 



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