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Giant whale balloon celebrates Canberra's centenary

UPI News Service, 05/09/2013 

An Australian artist has raised some eyebrows by marking Canberra's centenary with a giant hot air balloon shaped like a large-breasted whale.

Patricia Piccinini's Skywhale, which measures 111-feet-long, is about twice the size of a hot air balloon and resembles a giant whale with enormous breasts on either side, The Mirror reported Thursday.

The $173,000 balloon was created as part of Canberra's centenary celebrations.

"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," she said. "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."

"I think that's confounding for people because they don't know what the creature is, but secondly they don't know if it's an artwork or what it's trying to do," she said.

Piccinini said the large breasts symbolize how mammals feed their young.

However, some residents, including opposition leader Jeremy Hanson, said the balloon represents how the government is out of touch with community values.

"It seems that this government's priorities, and Katy Gallagher's priorities are just not consistent with the values of this community," he said. "[$173,000] on a whale shaped hot air balloon -- incredible."

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