Parrtjima – A Festival in Light 2022 theme revealed
[by Renay Hung]
The theme for Parrtjima – A Festival in Light 2022 has been revealed as ‘Sky Country’, with a focus on our place in the universe and the relationship First Nations people have with the environment.
The free 10-night festival returns to Alice Springs, Mparntwe, from 8-17 April 2022.
First Nations people have long looked to the skies to understand their place on Country and, in the heart of Australia, the behaviour of the seasons, the sky, the wind and the nature of flight all provide the knowledge needed for desert survival.
The Red Centre’s desert night skies are famous for their blazing stars, and the constellations have guided generations of Arrernte across their homeland, while the birds warn of predators and the winds determine what needs harvesting.
Parrtjima keeps the flame of story and authentic Aboriginal culture alive by using the newest technology to tell ancient stories, all set against the 300-million-year-old natural canvas of the MacDonnell Ranges.
Offering a new way to look at the world, and sparking our curiosity, the Parrtjima program will tell the story of sky, air and wind through light shows, installations, art, music, talks, films, workshops and performance.
Parrtjima is delivered by the Northern Territory Government through NT Major Events Company (NTMEC) and is produced by Creative Directors AGB Events.
NTMEC CEO Tim Watsford said the theme is particularly meaningful for an event that takes place under the Red Centre’s desert night skies.
“Central Australia is unlike anywhere else in the country, and Parrtjima is unlike any other event,” he said.
“Every year, as the stars above illuminate the night sky, Parrtjima illuminates the desert landscape of Mparntwe. ‘Sky Country’ will make us all stop, look up, and consider our place in the universe.”
AGB Events First Nations Advisor and Parrtjima Curator Rhoda Roberts AO said Sky Country explores the relationship First Nations people have with the environment.
“To understand our connection with the universe we have always looked two ways: everything is written twice, once in the ground and once in the sky,” she said.
“This year is a new exploration for Parrtjima. We know we are grounded as we step on the red earth, but with a new gaze upwards under the majestic night skies of Central Australia our Parrtjima thematic, Sky Country, is a discovery of the constellations. They guided generations of Arrernte across their homelands.
“This theme focuses on our place in the universe. Knowing the sky is our first step – the passage of stories handed down about the vastness and who we are in the universe. How everything is much bigger than us and needs to be protected.
“We are thrilled to be able to shine a light on these stories and acknowledge Australia's first scientists, first astronomers and first naturalists.”
The only authentic Aboriginal light festival of its kind, Parrtjima is the place where wisdom and warmth meet in the stunning Red Centre.
Register now to be one of the first to know when the full program is released. Visit www.parrtjima.com.au and follow Parrtjima on Facebook and Instagram.
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