To celebrate the centenary of Canberra, the Australian national capital city, the sculptor Patricia Piccinini was commissioned to design a balloon. She is well known for her fantastic, even grotesque creations. She said,
"My question is what if evolution went a different way and instead of going back into the sea, from which they came originally, they went into the air and we evolved a nature that could fly instead of swim. In fact coming from a place like Canberra where it's a planned city that's really tried to integrate and blend in with the natural environment, it makes a lot of sense to make this sort of huge, gigantic, but artificial and natural-looking creature".
The balloon is in the form of a grotesque whale with ten pendulous mammary glands on its sides.
The project has not been without its critics who have considered it a waste of public money, but they cannot deny that it has achieved it aim of getting the world talking about Canberra. There have been many political cartoons based upon it, some with the faces of prominent politicians grafted onto the Skywhale and some implying that the mammary glands are dispensing public subsidies.