It’s Lights, Camera, Action as Parrtjima Opens Tonight

Pamela Connellan
on 9 April 2021

Tonight is the opening night of the Parrtjima Light Festival held in Alice Springs in the heart of Australia at this time each year. This is the only Aboriginal light festival of its kind in the world – showcasing one of the oldest continuous cultures on Earth by using the newest technologies we have against the backdrop of the incredible MacDonnell Ranges – a 300-million-year-old natural canvas.

Parrtjima (pronounced Par-Chee-ma) means ‘lighting up’ and conveys two meanings: physically illuminating an object with light and ‘lighting up’ as in to shed light and understanding on a subject. Many would say this immaculate light festival which lights up two kilometres of the ancient MacDonnell Ranges, is a life-changing experience.

As well as the amazing light show, there’ll be a celebration of Aboriginal art, culture and entertainment at the same time – all in the heart of the desert. The MacDonnell Ranges are a natural canvas for an unforgettable light show with a carefully curated soundscape which leaves a memorable impression on viewers.

Parrtjima runs from the 9th of April until the 18th and the theme this year is Future Kultcha, with a focus on inter-generational wisdom. The festival features a full program of events each night at the Alice Springs Desert Park, plus a signature installation at Todd Mall, and a film and art tour program at Araluen Arts Centre.

Electric Fields
Singing duo, Electric Fields, will perform at the opening of the Parrtijima Light Festival tonight.

As night falls this evening, these large-scale light installations will burst into life. Musical duo, Electric Fields, will perform a track dedicated to Parrtjima on stage in front of the Ranges.

Highlights for the rest of opening weekend include Casey Donovan performing on Saturday 10th April and author Bruce Pascoe chatting to Parrtjima Curator Rhoda Roberts on the same evening. NRL legend, Josh Addo-Carr, will discuss his life and career to date with Roberts on Sunday, 11th April. Workshops include wooden carving with Maruku Arts and bushfoods with celebrity chef Mark Olive and local expert, Rayleen Brown.

There’s also a fabric and textiles workshop with National Indigenous Fashion Awards Director, Nina Fitzgerald, who will be talking with artists Jungala Kriss and Raymond Walters Japanangka. Plus there’ll be the screening of classic movie, Jedda.

Parrtjima FestivalParrtjima is delivered by the Northern Territory Government through NT Major Events Company (NTMEC) and produced by Creative Directors AGB Events. CEO for NTMEC, Tim Watsford said the event is like no other: “Parrtjima is really a one-of-a-kind experience,” he said. “For a start it takes place under the Red Centre’s astonishing night skies, which are impressive enough.

“Combine that with exquisite Aboriginal artworks transformed into large-scale light installations, a full two kilometres of the MacDonnell Ranges illuminated with Aboriginal art, and a program bursting with film, talks, workshops and more, and you’ve got something pretty special. You really have to experience it to believe it.”

To view the full program, visit the Parrtjima website here.

Note: The Parrtjima Light Festival will be delivered in line with an approved COVID-19 event safety plan, taking into consideration the latest health and safety guidelines.

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