Weekend Times



Parrtjima opens in Australia’s Red Centre

  • Written by Renay Hung

Free event in Alice Springs will lift spirits every night until 20 September

Parrtjima – A Festival in Light
launched last night with an incredible display of lighting installations and interactive artworks across Alice Springs Desert Park and Todd Mall, breathing life into this year’s theme, ‘Lifting our Spirits.’


The theme of the fifth Parrtjima event is perfectly timed to nurture a sense of connection, celebration and community during what has been a difficult year for many.


Parrtjima is the only event of its kind in the world, celebrating Aboriginal arts, culture and storytelling through extraordinary light, art and sound installations. Combined with music, workshops, films, cooking demonstrations and a series of meaningful talks, Deep Listening, visitors have been enjoying a fascinating, memorable experience.


At Desert Park, opening night guests were treated to the first showing of the 2km illumination of the MacDonnell Ranges called The Ebb and Flow of Sky and Country. New light installations, including an enormous glowing sphere hovering three metres above the ground and a towering eight-metre emu, brought gasps of delight from onlookers. Crowd favourite Grounded, featuring the work of seven new artists projected onto the desert sands of the Red Centre, made a welcome return.


At Todd Mall, musician Stuart Nuggett wowed with his performance in the Jingili language, of which just five native speakers exist today. Later in the evening, the first of the Deep Listening talks was a thought-provoking discussion between renowned journalist, author and educator Tracey Holmes and Parrtjima’s Curator Rhoda Roberts AO.


“The knowledge we gain from artists has always been uplifting, and this year’s ‘Lifting our Spirits’ theme could not be more fitting,” Ms Roberts said. “Our program resonates with local voices, song and dance, and the art that celebrates the local Arrernte. With artworks incorporating the recognisable Central and western desert meeting place symbol, Parrtjima is a time to gather safely and experience Arrernte culture, from the ebb and flow of the light show over the MacDonnell Ranges, to the music in Todd Mall and Deep Listening conversations that lift our spirits in a world that is both ancient and new.”


Parrtjima is presented by the Northern Territory Government through the Northern Territory Major Events Company and is produced by creative consultants AGB Events. Northern Territory Government Minister for Tourism and Hospitality, and Minister for Major Events, Natasha Fyles, last night confirmed the dates for Parrtjima 2021.


“Parrtjima is always unique for its remarkable cultural and artistic program. This year, where events are few and far between, Parrtjima is even more extraordinary than usual. Parrtjima provides an enriching, inspiring and thought-provoking experience, and being able to continue to deliver this event in a difficult year with such a fantastic theme is exceptional,” she said. “I am delighted to confirm that Parrtjima will return to the Red Centre to inspire us all from 9-18 April 2021.”


Parrtjima – A Festival in Light is open to all ages from 6:30pm to 10:30pm each night until Sunday, 20 September. Parrtjima is free, but visitors must register as part of the event’s COVID-19 Management Plan at www.parrtjimaaustralia.com.au.


Parrtjima will return to Alice Springs in 2021 from 9-18 April.


For more information, the full public program and to register your attendance, please visit www.parrtjimaaustralia.com.au.

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