[by Laura Minns]
Alice Springs shines at Parrtjima – A Festival in Light
The fourth annual Parrtjima – A Festival in Lightis once again illuminating the Red Centre following a showstopping opening night. Held over the next nine nights, the bigger-than-ever free public festival celebrates First Nations arts, culture, storytelling and the 2019 theme of Language Expressions through extraordinary light, art and sound experiences.
The breathtaking artistic program spans across two festival precincts – Alice Springs Desert Park and Todd Mall in Alice Springs CBD – and showcases seven unique lighting installations and interactive artworks.
They include an impressive illuminated tunnel which welcomes guests to the festival space, a series of over-sized sculptures telling the lesser-known social history of First Nations station workers and their language of the land, an interactive and over-sized maze for children, and a series of sculptured large- scale moths which, set throughout incredible lighting effects along Todd Mall, provide another layer to the story of Country.
Festival goers are treated to a theatrical experience unlike any other in 2019, with the light show on the majestic MacDonnell Ranges to set the benchmark for future festivals. Two kilometres of the Ranges will be illuminated by a series of stunning lighting effects celebrating the beauty of this ancient landscape, while the voice of actor Aaron Pedersen, an Arrernte descendent, relates a script written by Arrernte people, taking the audience on a stirring journey through Country, the kinship system and language.
Throughout the week, the artistic program will be complemented by a thought-provoking Knowledge Program showcasing music, dance, workshops, talks and ideas, all of which aim to deepen the visitor experience and provide a platform for artists and respected Arrernte Elders to holistically share their art, knowledge and culture with visitors from Australia and abroad.
They include a series of live performances on show at the Festival Hub, including acclaimed First Nations hip-hop artist and Young Australian of the Year, Baker Boy - who will take the stage on the final night of the festival with a multilingual performance set to bring an electrifying energy to Parrtjima’s closing weekend. Other performers bringing their eclectic sounds to the infinite spaces of the Red Centre include singer-songwriter Mojo Juju and Casii Williams.
Rhoda Roberts AO, AGB Events, First Nations Creative Curator said the festival showcases one of the oldest continuous cultures on Earth and puts the magnificent Aboriginal art and culture of Central Australia on a global stage.
“I’m thrilled to see this year’s spellbinding Parrtjima festival come together. From immersive light, art and sound experiences to incredible live music performances and thought-provokingtalksandideasrighthere in the heart of Australia, there is something for everyone.”
“This year’s festival theme Language Expressions coincides with the UN Year of Indigenous Languages, celebrating age-old knowledge and continuance of story, culture and connection to Country. Parrtjima 2019 once again provides a unique platform, an exchange of new expressions and a dialogue that will no doubt wow visitors,” said Roberts.
Tim Watsford, GM of NT Major Events Company, said that with nine days remaining, there was still time for travellers and families to visit the Red Centre to experience Parrtjima for themselves.
“Parrtjima is a festival like no other, in a place like no other. Combine the unforgettable spirituality of the Australian Outback with the creativity of some of the oldest cultures in the world, and you get an immersive experience that’s second to none.
“In its purest form, this festival is about connections, and we welcome Australians and international visitors alike to make their way to the Red Centre where Australia’s First Nations culture and dialogue will be on show like never before.”
Parrtjima–A Festival in Light is open to all ages from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm each night until Sunday, 14 April. A free park ‘n ride shuttle bus is available to and from the festival at Alice Springs Desert Park, stopping at several locations around AliceSprings.
Parrtjima is presented by the NT Major Events Company and is produced by creative consultants AGB Events.
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