TRAVEL: Desert sky spectacular near Alice Springs
SPECTACULAR Indigenous artworks and a 300-million-year-old canvas illuminated to brighten the desert sky are just some of the highlights of the Parrtjima festival.
Taking place in Alice Springs, this "Festival in Light", a free public event, will run over 10 nights from Friday, September 23, to Sunday, October 2, 2016.
The Northern Territory Government collaborated with AGB Events and local Aboriginal artists, students and community to present this breathtaking showcase of contemporary and traditional Indigenous art, culture and stories using light and sound.
Northern Territory Major Events Company general manager Andrew Hopper says Parrtjima offers visitors from around Australia and the world a rare chance to experience the oldest continuous culture on earth in a new and exciting way.
"We are extremely proud to present the first authentic Indigenous light festival of its kind in the world as we illuminate 2.5km of the Northern Territory's majestic MacDonnell Ranges in celebration of Central Australia's rich Aboriginal culture," he adds.
In addition to the multi-coloured projections on the MacDonnell Ranges, a series of installations will be on show at Alice Springs Desert Park. These include:
* Range of Expression: Visitors to Parrtjima can play a part in illuminating the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges! Step into the interactive glass booth and take control of the panels to choose which colours you want to use to light the vast landscape, and watch your creation come to life before your eyes.
* Yeperenye Tales (Caterpillars): A series of three large, light-filled caterpillar installations featuring colourful illustrations by students from Amoonguna School in Alice Springs, based on their interpretation of the Yeperenye (Caterpillar) Dreamtime story.
* Grounded: A sequence of artworks by Indigenous artists from Alice Springs will be projected onto the desert sands with their own atmospheric soundscape.
* Inti Ljapa Ljapa Irapakalam (Butterfly Going Round and Round): A series of five large, illuminated skirts feature the circular watercolour landscape paintings of five Alice Springs artists including Lenie Namatjira (granddaughter of one of Australia's best known Aboriginal painters, Albert Namatjira), Reinhold Inkamala, Ivy Pareroultja, Therese Ryder and Hubert Pareroultja.
The skirts feature circular illustrations of the West MacDonnell Ranges with an endless horizon that leads to one central sky. As audiences move around the skirts they will follow the unbroken horizon and take on the flying path of the emerging butterflies that populate the Arrernte song-lines.
AGB Events director Anthony Bastic predicts Parrtjima will become a popular fixture on Australia's events calendar.
"The sheer scale of the lighting on the MacDonnell Ranges is beyond imaginable, and will tell a layered, interactive and personal story from artists, elders and the local indigenous community," Anthony adds.
"It will set this authentic and contemporary experience apart from anything we've ever seen before."
Visitors can access the event via the Larapinta bike track or the free event shuttle bus, which will collect passengers every 10 minutes from 6pm daily from six locations around Alice Springs.
Pick-up and drop-off locations include Star of Alice bus stop, Lasseters Convention Centre/Casino, Council Chambers, Araluen Cultural Precinct, Albrecht Oval Carpark and Desert Park bus stop.
Gates will open to the public at Alice Springs Desert Park for two sessions each night from 6.30pm-8.30pm and 8.30pm-10.30pm.
For more information and to register to attend, please visit www.ParrtjimaAustralia.com.au.