Artist Patricia Piccinini always wanted Skywhalepapa's first flight to be about more than a family gathering. She wanted it to be a symbol of care and strength.
Ms Piccinini hopes that's what people felt when Skywhalepapa rose high above Lake Burley Griffin and Parliament House on a gloomy Canberra Day morning.
The backdrop of the giant balloon's debut flight added to the story Ms Piccinini had hoped to tell.
With Canberra Day doubling up as International Women's Day, Ms Piccinini said her work had relevance to the ongoing scandals at Parliament House and the need to care for people in vulnerable situations - as well as the importance of care and the role men play in caring for others.
"Skywhalepapa is about the idea that care is not gendered. Care is available to all of us. We can all care," she said.
"A lot of women have been retraumatised by what's happening and the lack of care around women who have been assaulted.
"When we come together as a community and have these incredible life-affirming joyful moments together, around ideas that are good for all of us; [this] gives us all the strength to go out and act.
"To care for vulnerable people, for people who have been abused, care for people that need help ... that's the sign of a true community."
Skywhalepapa's hour-long flight alongside Skywhale went ahead without a problem after a failed attempt to get it into the air in February.
The inflatable couple were in the air for about an hour before landing in Glenloch.
Balloon pilot Craig Farrell flew Skywhale on Monday, and said seeing Skywhalepapa finally take to the skies was "truly magnificent".
"It was a true privilege to be able to fly the mama and watch the papa over Canberra and over the Parliamentary Triangle," he said.
Despite a drizzle of rain in Canberra immediately after the balloons' lift-off, Mr Farrell said the flying conditions were very good, with "excellent direction and speed".
Ms Piccinini said she did not have total control of her Skywhales, unlike her other artworks, and this taught her to embrace situations that do not go to plan.
"We're used to controlling everything around us as humans," she said.
"[Skywhales] are going to do whatever they want to do. If they want to fly, they are going to fly. If they don't, that is part of being in a family.
"In a family, you actually have to love people that you don't always agree with."
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