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There’s something very special about the landscape of the Red Centre. Its ochre-hues and rugged terrain, sun kissed by day and blanketed by stars at night.

By Tierney Seccull

This natural beauty is set alight with bold and beautiful colours this month, as Parrtjima – A Festival in Light returns to illuminate Alice Springs/Mparntwe over 10 glorious nights, the 2022 theme ‘Sky Country’.

“To understand our connection with the universe we have always looked two ways: everything is written twice, once in the ground and once in the sky,” says AGB Events First Nations Advisor and Parrtjima Curator Rhoda Roberts AO.

“This year is a new exploration for Parrtjima. We know we are grounded as we step on the red earth, but with a new gaze upwards under the majestic night skies of Central Australia our Parrtjima thematic, Sky Country, is a discovery of the constellations. They guided generations of Arrernte across their homelands.

“We are thrilled to be able to shine a light on these stories and acknowledge Australia’s first scientists, first astronomers and first naturalists.”

The Arrernte people are the Traditional Custodians of Mparntwe and the surrounding region, and parrtjima translates to ‘lighting up’ in the Arrernte language.

Launching in 2016, and currently the only authentic Aboriginal light festival of its kind, Parrtjima was created to ‘light up’ Country and spark a sense of appreciation of, and connection to, the land for First Nations people, Territorians and welcome visitors.

The 10-night festival features incredible light installations, including the iconic Lighting of the MacDonnell Ranges, bringing modern-day technology to the 300-million-year-old natural canvas. First Nations art and culture is showcased through bold artworks, beautiful performances, interactive workshops, music, film, and thought-provoking talks.

This important festival on the national events calendar has drawn some big names, ARIA Award-winning Dan Sultan and Triple J’s 2021 Unearthed Artist of the Year King Stingray of Yirrkala in North-East Arnhem Land leading the music program.

Hot on the heels of blowing audiences away at Womadelaide last month, King Stingray’s Yirrnga Yunupingu says the band is pumped.

“This will be the first time for us playing in the Red Centre. Our dreams have come true! We can’t wait to experience the good vibes of Parrtjima and rock the stage with all the other amazing artists.”

Over 10 starlit nights, you’re invited to embrace the desert, look to the skies, and treat your senses to this powerful and thought-provoking festival on Arrernte Country.

Parrtjima – A Festival in Light
FRI 8 - SUN 17 APR

Thumbnail, header & inset: Parrtjima, 2021

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