Expect to be spellbound by a Red Centre awash with light

Parrtjima festival, Desert Park, Alice springs, Australia. 27/9/2018. Photo Credit James Horan Photos Courtesy Parrtjima Australia

Baker Boy will perform at this year’s Parrtjima festival, the world’s only First Nations light show, which will bring Australia’s Red Centre alive.

The ten day festival will showcase new lighting installations, interactive artwork, and an array of acclaimed musical acts, including renowned Indigenous artist Baker Boy.

Born in Arnhem Land, the Indigenous hip-hop artist performs in both English and Yolŋu Matha.

Baker Boy will share the stage with many other performers and voices in a series of workshops, talks, and performances.

The festival is to be held in Alice Springs, on Arrernte country.

It is a free event and this year, in recognition of the UN Year of Indigenous Languages, the theme of the festival is Language Expressions.

Parrtjima curator Rhoda Roberts, who is returning for her third year, said traditional languages are vital to providing continuance of story, culture, and connection to country.

“The installations and light show capture the essence of diverse artistic practices, along with the public program that features music, film and talks, enhancing the many ways in which First Nations artists, performers and custodians celebrate and evolve, while staying true to the ancient philosophy of connection and country,” she said.

“Festival guests can expect to be spellbound and witness the unexpected, and I hope many can join us in the heart of the nation as we explore the oldest living art practices through a new lens,” said Ms Roberts.

Seven installations will be displayed across Alice Springs Desert Park and the Todd Mall precinct.

The MacDonnell Ranges, acting as a natural canvas, will be washed with light art as well, and accompanied by the voice of actor Aaron Pedersen, an Arrernte descendent, reading work by Arrernte people.

The work will follow a journey through country, the kinship system, and language, whilst celebrating the beauty and survival of the surrounding environment.

Seven local and Central Australian Indigenous artists are showcased in the festival.

Northern Territory Major Events Company General Manager Tim Watsford said Parrtjima is a family friendly event which welcomes and connects visitors with original, contemporary and traditional First Nations art.

“Parrtjima signals the generosity and spirit of a peoples who always have and always will care for the country and for the many travellers who visit this timeless land. With that in mind, we welcome visitors from Australia and abroad to this year’s incredible festival of light, sound and immersion to experience the Red Centre, its art, culture and people, in a way they have never experienced before. Come join us, look at Alice Springs, Mparntwe, through a new lens and get a unique taste of Central Australia,” he said.

The Parrtjima Festival of Light will take place from the 5th to the 14th of April. A detailed program will be released in coming weeks.

By Rachael Knowles

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