The second annual Parrtjima – A Festival in Light has opened in Alice Springs, home of the Arrernte. Illuminating Alice Springs Desert Park for 10 nights, the free outdoor public event showcases contemporary art by talented Aboriginal artists from around Central Australia.
Derived from the Arrernte group of languages, Parrtjima (pronounced Par-CHee-ma) suggests shedding both light and understanding on a subject. In Central and Eastern Arrernte, ‘apateme’ means ‘to have trouble understanding something’ and ‘pwarrtyeme’ means ‘to shine’.
A highlight of the program will be the mesmerising illumination of a 300-million-year-old natural canvas – the majestic West MacDonnell Ranges. The event includes installations involving artists from the central desert region and a Festival of Knowledge Program, which aims to deepen visitors’ experience. Here, Arrernte Elders share their art knowledge and culture through a series of talks and events.
Parrtjima curator and renowned First Nations creative director Rhoda Roberts OA said the festival showcases the oldest continuous culture on earth and puts the magnificent Aboriginal art and culture of Central Australia on centre stage.
“We are excited to come together with senior Aboriginal artists in Alice Springs and bring new light to their vibrant artwork to inspire visitors to learn more about the rich culture of the central desert artists who continue to paint country and keep our knowledge alive for future generations.
“We are thrilled to deepen the experience for visitors through the new Festival Knowledge Program, which offers visitors the chance to meet the artists, hear their stories and learn about their artmaking.”
Arrernte artist and Parrtjima Festival Reference Group advisor, Aunty Patricia Ansell Dodds said: “Parrtjima helps us. It shows our art. It shows our culture. It shows that it is beautiful, and helps open people’s eyes.”
This year, visitors are encouraged to download the free Parrtjima 2017 mobile app, which includes festival program, site map, details of the installations and the artists.
The family-friendly festival runs from 6:30pm to 10:30pm daily until Sunday, 1 October 2017. Attendees are asked to register for one of four sessions held each night. The Festival Knowledge Program will commence at 5:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.
A free park ‘n’ ride shuttle bus is available to and from the festival at Alice Springs Desert Park, stopping at several locations around Alice Springs.
For more information and to register to attend, please visit Parrtjimaaustralia.com.au.