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Patricia Piccinini (born 1965) is an Australian artist who works in a variety of media, including painting, video, sound, installation, digital prints, and sculpture. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at the Victorian College of the Arts in 1991.[1] In 2014 she received the Artist Award from the Melbourne Art Foundation's Awards for the Visual Arts.[2]

Patricia Piccinini
MovementContemporary art

Nest. 2006 sculpture in the 'automotive' works series.

Piccinini was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone.



2000 to 2011Edit

According to her 2002 National Gallery of Victoria biography:

Piccinini has an ambivalent attitude towards technology and she uses her artistic practice as a forum for discussion about how technology impacts upon life. She is keenly interested in how contemporary ideas of nature, the natural and the artificial are changing our society. Specific works have addressed concerns about biotechnology, such as gene therapy and ongoing research to map the human genome... she is also fascinated by the mechanisms of consumer culture."[1]

In 2003, Piccinini represented Australia at the 50th Venice Biennale. The work exhibited was 'We Are Family'.[3]

2012 to 2013Edit

"The Skywhale", commissioned for the centenary of Canberra.

The Skywhale was a work commissioned by the ACT Government for its Centenary year. The ABC described the work as a "hot air balloon in the shape of a tortoise-like animal featuring huge dangling udders made from four hectares of nylon".[4] The budget for the project was $300,000 and has been the subject of comments made by ACT Chief Ministers Jon Stanhope and Andrew Barr.[5][4]

2014 to 2015Edit

In a 2014 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Piccinini said of her work, "It's about evolution, nature – how nature is such a wonderful thing, we're just here to witness it, it's not here for us – genetic engineering, changing the body."[6] Following her 2014 win in the Melbourne Art Foundation's Awards, she went on to say that:

The thing about this award on some levels is that my work ... all of it has this first impact, the sort of impact of spectacle. It's beautifully made, strong, aesthetic, so people are interested in that and it draws them in, and then they get interested in the idea. It takes a while to get to the idea. It's not easy. So this award says, "We get it, we get what you're trying to do, we've gone beyond the surface, we can see that there are ideas underneath, and these ideas are about the opportunity for connection".[6]

In 2015 she presented as part of a group exhibition titled Menagerie at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne.[7]

Graham: a 2016 sculpture for the TAC's public safety campaign 'Towards Zero'. (He has no neck to prevent whiplash.[8])


In 2016, the TAC commissioned Piccinini to work in collaboration with Dr. David Logan,[8] a senior research fellow at the Monash University Accident Research Centre, and trauma surgeon Dr. Christian Kenfield,[8] for "Project Graham" - as part of the TAC's road safety campaign Towards Zero.[9] "Graham", a lifelike, interactive sculpture, highlights how vulnerable the human body is to the forces involved in auto accidents.[10] As the TAC explains: "Graham highlights the changes we need to make to protect ourselves from our own mistakes on the road. At the centre of this system is the belief that human health is more important than anything else, he is the embodiment of the Towards Zero vision."[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Biography: Patricia Piccinini". National Gallery of Victoria. 2002. Archived from the original on 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Patricia Piccinini - Artist Profile - Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery". Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  4. ^ a b "Artist Patricia Piccinini honoured with lifetime achievement award - Books and Arts - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)".
  5. ^ "Skywhale not dead yet: ACT Chief Minister's radio gaffe - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". 2015-03-06.
  6. ^ a b Cuthbertson, Debbie (2014-07-17). "Skywhale creator Patricia Piccinini wins national art prize". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  7. ^ "Australian Centre for Contemporary Art".
  8. ^ a b c "How the human body would have to be built to survive a catastrophic car crash: Sculptor creates 'super human' with massive head, extra nipples and no neck to launch road safety campaign". He has a huge chest to protect rib cage and no neck to avoid whiplash [...] Piccinini drew from the knowledge of trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield and road safety engineer David Logan to build a body that could withstand a high-speed crash.
  9. ^ TAC. "Towards Zero". Road Safety Victoria.
  10. ^ "TAC latest campaigns". (Victorian) Traffic Accident Commission. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  11. ^ "Meet Graham". Traffic Accident Commission.

External linksEdit