“Parrtjima shows people that the country is alive, so that visitors and all the non-Arrernte people who live here can have deeper respect for it, and start to see how much it means to us. This is our country, this is our art, and this is our culture - and it is good.” - Benedict Kngwarraye Stevens, Traditional Owner Apmereke-artweye of Mparntwe
And how good it is! For the fourth time, visitors from all over Australia and the world are invited to Parrtjima - a Festival in Light from 5 - 14 April 2019 to admire, learn, and experience the artistic manifestations of the cultures of the First Nations people of Central and Western Desert regions of the Northern Territory.
This year, the festival coincides with the UN Year of Indigenous Languages and in recognition. Traditional Languages are vital to providing age-old knowledge continuance of story, culture and connection to Country. That’s why this year’s theme is Language Expressions. Every light projection, art installation and program highlight, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the 300-million-year-old MacDonnell Ranges, will be inspired by this theme.
Painting, storytelling, song, and even ever-evolving technological displays are important methods of communicating culture; what these artistic expressions are able to do is cultivate an exchange of new expressions and a dialogue that is relevant to the 21st century. These are Language Expressions come to life!
As soon as guests arrive, they will be welcomed through a powerful illuminated tunnel and led into the festival space. There, visitors will find, explore, interact with, and enjoy a series of over-sized sculptures telling lesser-known history of First Nations stations workers and their language of the land, as well as an over-sized maze for children, music performances from Baker Boy and Mojo Juju and other local and internationally-acclaimed musicians. Visitors will learn from speakers during workshops and talks or do hands-on learning with activities like sand painting with local custodians.
By growing our understanding, visitors can better see the deep connection between the First Nations people and Country. By growing our understanding of this connection, visitors can better understand Australia itself.