Skywhales: Every heart sings

Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhales: Every heart sings is coming to Maitland!

When: Saturday 15 January 2022, 4.30am – 7.00am

Where: Maitland No 1 Sportsground, James Street, Maitland

Cost: Free, tickets essential. All welcome.


Experience the magic of Skywhale and Skywhalepapa, two hot air balloon sculptures towering at 7 storeys, as they come to life in the glow of sunrise.

Join the pre-dawn festivities at this once in a lifetime community event. Bring your blanket & thermos or enjoy a coffee and snack from onsite vendors, then sit back as the pair slowly rise from the ground and, if weather permits, take off across the skies of Maitland.

Skywhales: Every heart sings is a National Gallery Touring Event, supported by Principal Partner 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: Patricia Piccinini, Skywhalepapa and Skywhale, 2020, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, commissioned with the assistance of The Balnaves Foundation 2019, purchased 2020 © Patricia Piccinini



  • Entry is free, gates open at 4.30am. Please feel free to join the event at any time after gates open.
  • The sculptures gradually inflate over 90 minutes, reaching their full height and taking off (weather permitting) at sunrise.
  • The event will conclude at 7.00am.
  • It may be cold at sunrise, so dress warmly with waterproof sneakers or soft shoes only. Heels are not permitted on the Sportsground.
  • Bring a torch, picnic rug and get close the action on the grass or take a seat in the grandstand. Camp/folding chairs are not permitted.
  • Bring a breakfast picnic and hot thermos or purchase something from a vendor on site.
  • Maitland No 1 Sportsground is wheelchair accessible.
  • Inclement weather may delay the flight to the following day, Maitland Regional Art Gallery will notify all ticketed guests via email early on Friday 14 January.
  • COVID safety measures will be in place. All attendees are required to register for free tickets and sign in via the Service NSW Check in. Event capacity is subject to 2sqm.
  • Attendees are not to attend if they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, have been in contact within the past two weeks with someone exhibiting symptoms, or have been in an area identified as having active cases of COVID-19.
  • Attendees are to maintain physical distancing from other attendees as per the 2 square metre rule.