Parrtjima – A Festival in Light returned to Mparntwe, Alice Springs, on Friday for 10 nights with thousands of people registered to attend the free event.
Hotels are booked out, hire cars are hard to find, and the town is buzzing with anticipation for the free festival of Aboriginal culture featuring light, art, music, workshops, talks, film and more.
As well as the large-scale light installations and MacDonnell Ranges lightshow, the program includes a slew of Aboriginal artists, performers and experts.
Opening weekend includes hit East Arnhem band King Stingray performing tonight, Emma Donovan and The Putbacks on the bill for Saturday, and Ray Ray McKenzie and Tilly Tjala Thomas on stage on Sunday.
Workshops over the next few days include screen printing with House of Darwin, pottery with the Hermannsburg Potters, and seed jewellery making with the Ikuntji Artists.
Those taking part in the talks and panel program include journalist Narelda Jacobs and Indigenous water science and associate professor Bradley Moggridge, who will discuss how ancient knowledge systems of sky country can inform current climate policy.
Sky country is this year’s theme, and focuses on our place in the universe and the relationship First Nations people have with the environment.
Parrtjima is delivered by Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC) in association with Creators and Producer AGB Events. NTMEC CEO Tim Watsford said Parrtjima is one of Australia’s most unique events.
“Parrtjima is unlike anything else, featuring visually stunning large-scale light installations and the incredible MacDonnell Ranges lightshow, which literally turns a vast expanse of the Ranges into a natural canvas,” Watsford said.
“The festival also features a mentally stimulating program of talks, workshops, music, film and more. The Red Centre is stunning on its own. Combined with a visit to Parrtjima under starstudded skies, it offers a truly unforgettable trip to the heart of the country.”
AGB First Nations Adviser and Parrtjima Curator Rhoda Roberts said the program this year is fresh and contemporary, and visitors are up for experiences never before encountered.
“This year’s thematic focus is on our place in the universe and explores First Nations people and their relationship with the environment,” Roberts said.
“As the country opens up, it’s a time to take your next experience and discover a place that makes you feel alive with the celebration of an ancient culture.
“We know of the connection to country, but here you’ll learn about the stories of the Arrernte sky, that is so big and vast you’re reminded of your place in the cosmos.”