Retrospective: Parrtjima Festival 2021

On the Yarn Blog, we usually write about the incredible upcoming Indigenous arts and culture events before or during their commencement, and we encourage everyone to attend if they have the opportunity. Now, we want to share with you a retrospective on some of these events, starting with the Parrtjima Festival - a Festival in Light 2021. 

The Alice Springs Desert Park and Todd Mall burst into life with large-scale light installations for the Parrtjima Festival’s 10-night-celebration. The festival's theme ‘Future Kultcha’ focused upon the wisdom and knowledge of culture and tradition passed down from one generation to the next through a series of stunning high-tech installations. Feel free to take a look at these beautiful displays of art below.

Merging Kultcha. Courtesy of Parrtjima, 2021.

This installation ‘Merging Kultcha’ is about the cameleers who worked in Outback Australia from the 1860’s to the 1930’s. They formed an important part of the Australian Outback, and many of them married into Indigenous communities. The installation was a train of five mosaic camels, featuring the gorgeous artwork ‘Crossroads’ by Chantelle Mulladad (Parrtjima, 2021).

Harvesting Kultcha. Courtesy of Parrtjima, 2021.

The following installation ‘Harvesting Kultcha’ by Yvonne Bonney features a honey ant nest. This mesmerising installation is interactive and links together women’s traditional knowledge of how to gather honey ants across scrubland with a unique experience for the younger generation. Visitors had the opportunity to jump on the activation pads and watch the ants' honey sacks fill with golden light (Parrtjima, 2021).

Grounded Kultcha. Courtesy of Parrtjima, 2021.

Next, we have ‘Grounded Kultcha,’ which invited visitors to wander through an animated sequence of curated artworks projected onto the sands of the Alice Springs Desert Park. This playful installation was fun and engaging for all ages. With Country as the canvas ‘Grounded Kultcha’ showcased artworks from three different arts centres in the Central and Western Desert region (Parrtjima, 2021).

Revolving Kultcha. Courtesy of Parrtjima, 2021.

‘Revolving Kultcha’ was a beautiful merging of traditional and contemporary forms of shields. It looked at the similarities of the traditional coolamon and shield with the contemporary skateboard - an exploration of the transferal of multigenerational stories. The coolamon, shields and skateboards were lit up with the artworks by Aubrey Tjangala (Papunya Tula Artists), Rita Wilson (Ninuku Arts), Raymond Walters Japanangka, Jungala Kriss and Margaret Kemarre Turner (Parrtjima, 2021).

Spirit Kultcha. Courtesy of Parrtjima, 2021.

Finally, the centrepiece of the Parrtjima Festival was ‘Spirit Kultcha,’ a spectacular light and sound show projected onto the majestic MacDonnell Ranges (Yeperenye) that took the audience on a guided journey into the Spirit of Arrernte Kultcha. The incredible soundtrack was by renowned Aboriginal electronic music duo ‘Electric Fields’ (Parrtjima, 2021).