Parrtjima is a poetic description from the Arrernte collective of languages, meaning to ignite in both light and understanding. An apt name for the ‘festival in light’, which is returning in 2017 to sweep the 300-million-year-old canvas of the MacDonnell Ranges in Alice Springs with a rainbow of animated light and sound.
The immense grandeur of the natural landscape is transformed into an outdoor gallery exhibiting contemporary art from some of Australia’s most celebrated indigenous artists.
The 10 day program for Parrtjima is curated by Rhoda Roberts OA, and is the result of extensive cooperation with artists and art centres across Central Australia to bring aboriginal arts and culture to the centre stage. The festival illustrates the spirit of the land and its connection to its people.
“It is our shared hope that the festival will inspire all visitors to learn more about the rich culture of the central desert artists who continue to paint country and keep our knowledge alive for future generations,” says Rhoda.
Six main art installations will ignite the broader festival hub. The Heartbeat of Elements of Country covers a stretch of more than two kilometres in vivid projections that celebrate the ‘heartbeat’ of the country as expressed through the elements wind, fire and water.
The Interactive/ Wave Space holds booths where visitors can interact with the lighting display, changing the colours and patterns via their hand gestures.
The Expression Space is a gallery of giant lampshades suspended under the stars. Each is created by Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists, an Alice Springs-based art centre that helps adults with disabilities express themselves through art.
The Honouring Space, in collaboration with Iltja Ntjarra art centre, drops large landscape paintings throughout the desert to offer a gorgeous watercolour perspective to the majesty of the outer environment.
Grounded returns again to project new artworks from Ikuntji Artists and Barkly Regional Arts across the desert sands with an immersive soundscape and recordings of native stories.
Parrtjima – A Festival in Light runs from the 22nd September to the 1st October in the Alice Springs desert park of the MacDonnell Ranges. The festival visually articulates the experience of connection to land and the land as a living organism to an audience reaching far over the continent. Impressive video and audio technology is integrated to express in spectacular beauty the vibrant stories and histories of Central Australia’s indigenous people.