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Parrtjima’s Light Festival

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(from left) Rhoda Roberts-Curator, Dale Wakefield-Minister, Lauren Moss-Minister, Pat Dodson-Artist, Damien Ryan-Mayor
Photo credit: Red Hot Arts

Parrtjima is the only authentic Aboriginal light festival of its kind. The annual festival is held over ten nights in Alice Springs and features light installations from a number of aboriginal artists set against the MacDonnell Ranges.

Alongside the artworks there is a program packed full of live talks, events and music by local and national musicians.

One of the precincts of the Alice Springs Desert Park will feature the Forest Space installation. Through the Batchelor Institute Visual Arts Department Lecturers, Brigida Stewart and Amanda McMillan, past and present students were selected to be part of the festival in the form of the Forest Space Installation, and have collaborated with the internationally renowned curator,  Rhoda Roberts AO and world-class designers and technicians from AGB Events.   The Forest Space is comprised of many bold, large-scale sculptures which visitors can explore and weave their way through. The Forest Space installation honors the importance of the trees that grow in clusters across the desert.

The sculptures share knowledge of seasonal changes in the environment and the ecology of plants and trees, which provided more than shelter for the first nation’s people. This knowledge was essential for survival by providing tools and equipment necessary for everyday life. The forest space installation honours the trees which would provide much for local groups, including coolamons and water collectors, digging sticks, spears, boomerangs and many more.

Some of the artists involved with the Forest Space installation include Sarah Morton, Kelly Dixon, Susan Chalmers Mbitjana, Pamela Lalara, Lillian Inkamala, Graham Wilfred Jnr, Caroline Bohning and Kathy Inkamakla.

The expanded cultural program at Parrtjima’s Alice Springs Desert Park precinct is this year complemented by a second event precinct at Todd Mall, in the Alice Springs CBD. The Todd Mall precinct will showcase stunning lighting effects along the mall and a new installation representing the Caterpillar dreaming stories of Alice Springs.

The Caterpillars are an important new installation representing caterpillars, as requested by the group of Arrernte people guiding and advising the Festival to show respect for one of the main ways Arrernte people connect to country. In the Arrernte people’s Dreamtime story, this region was created by giant caterpillars which became the stunning ridges of the East and West MacDonnell Ranges.

Batchelor Institute students have been involved with the Todd Mall caterpillar light installation, with 10 artists participating in a 1 week workshop to paint the light globes which will be installed within the giant caterpillars.  These Visual Art students achieved Nationally recognised Statements of Attainment whilst working, and have the opportunity to continue further studies.

Link to Parrtjima website

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