Out of the way Vivid Sydney – there’s a new light festival blowing minds in Australia and this one is an absolute must-have experience in the heart of our beautiful country.
Taking place in the country’s Red Centre for the third year in a row, Parrtjima (pronounced par-chee-ma) – A Festival of Light is the only light festival of its kind, showcasing one of the oldest continuous Indigenous cultures on earth through the newest technology whilst celebrating the world-class beauty and culture of our country in the heart of Australia.
The festival sees artworks from the Arrernte people, as well as pieces from across the Central Desert region and associated parts of the Northern Territory, illuminated in a variety of ways. The pieces include works from notable arts centres including Ninuku Arts, Warnayaka Art, Ikuntji Artists, Barkly Regional Arts, Bachelor Institute of Tertiary Education and Keringke Arts.
Parrtjima means shedding both light and understanding on a topic, but, according to Festival curator Rhoda Roberts AO, it also means much more. The festival highlights the generosity and the spirit of people who have, and always will, care for a country and for the many travellers who visit this timeless land.
There is plenty to do and see at Parrtjima with both light installations and interactive artworks including a variety of varied ‘spaces’, each focussing on a particular topic. The Gateway Nature Space guides visitors through a breathtaking tunnel of light and sculpture which captures the sense of movement and freedom in the native bush and how alive it is in the Australian desert. Similarly, the Forest Space provides a series of bold, large-scale sculptures which visitors can weave their way through while learning about the seasonal changes of the environment and the ecology of the local plants and trees.
Immerse yourself within the projections themselves in The Grounded Space which, using powerful digital technology, projects light from above out onto the desert sands allowing visitors to become one with the art and stories of the artists and country. Gathering Space tells the stories of Central Australian artists through light, multimedia and repurposed materials which depict the spirit and freedom of place, landscape, flora and fauna.
Step into the interactive booth known as The Colour Space where you can select a series of colours and witness your own designs come to life as they illuminate the surrounding bushlands and trees with over 500 individually controlled LEDs responding to your every command. For the kids the Children’s Space provides an interactive playground space for both the young and those young at heart using the vibrant artwork of Keringke Arts.
Possibly the most impressive feature of the festival is the spectacular illumination of the stunning MacDonnell Ranges. This year’s theme of the landscape-based lighting display, which stretches across 2 kilometres of the expansive landscape, is “from sunset to sunrise” and will reflect the cyclical patterns of the sun and moon for your visual delight.
Alongside the festival’s visual effects is the Parrtjima Knowledge Program. Located in both Desert Park and Alice Spring’s Todd Mall, this aspect of the festival includes ten nights of film, musical performance and conversations with artists and performers from across Central Australia.
This year will also see parts of Alice Springs sharing the light spectacular with its Desert Park location. Todd Mall, in the centre of the city, will play host to an exciting series of new lighting effects and installations for all to enjoy.
Parrtjima is a visually spectacular way to experience the culture, art and country of not only the Red Centre, but Australia itself and is a must-do addition to everyone’s bucket-list.
In 2018 the festival will run from the 28th of September to the 7th of October, but in 2019 will run earlier in the year from the 5th to the 14th of April.
Red Centre Lights Spectacular Featuring Field of Light & Parrtjima | 5 Nights departing daily between 5 – 14 April 2019 from $2,379 pp
Our Red Centre Lights Spectacular package, which also features the famed Field of Lights, will see you experiencing the Parrtjima Festival as well as all the must-see Red Centre icons including a tour of Alice Springs, the Sounds of Silence Dinner and an exploration of the magnificent Kings Canyon. Find out more >>
All images provided by Parrtjima.