SKY-HIGH expectations were met in Maitland Saturday morning as spectators gathered to watch seven-storey inflatable sea mammals take flight.
The crowd at number one sportsground was awed as renowned visual artist, Patricia Piccinini's, hot air sculptures took form in the glow of sunrise and at around 6am left the ground.
"The sky was so beautiful and it echoed the colours in the whales which was magical," Ms Piccinini told the Newcastle Herald.
"Maitland is such an amazing place and it was really life-affirming to be there and to see so many people enjoying the work in an environment with so much positive energy.
"Because the flight is really dependant on the weather, it makes me feel extremely grateful when nature allows us to go ahead."
Around 5000 people registered to see the colossal works of art at their full potential. In a world full of cancellations, Ms Piccinini said she was thankful the outdoor nature of the event allowed it to go forward.
The floating pieces are described as "slightly weird" by the artist, but in a way that draws you in and sparks interest in them and their relationship.
"The first balloon - Skywhale - was made in 2013 and is all about the wonder of nature, evolution and fertility," Ms Piccinini said.
"It explores the idea that these animals we share the planet with are incredible and have evolved so adeptly to become a part of their environment.
"I was thinking about the whale and how this mammal had adapted so much of itself, including it's heart rate, to live in the sea. I though it's just as improbable that these amazing creatures could have evolved to live in the sky."
Skywhale and the recently introduced Skywhalepapa are part of a National Gallery touring event - Skywhales: Every heart sings.
"The second balloon is a direct response to the requests I kept getting about the first whale," Ms Piccinini said.
"Because of the mammaries on the first whale people kept asking where her kids were. So I created the father and children to complement the first balloon.
"Skywhalepapa addresses the idea of care and the growing acceptance - and realisation of the importance - of the role of a caring father.
"The two balloons have this relationship where people can ask all kinds of questions about life and nature."
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