2020 Parrtjima goes virtual

The astonishing 2020 Parrtjima – A Festival in Light kicked off over the weekend in Alice Springs. The free annual festival, now in its fifth year, will run every night from 6.30pm to 10.30pm until 20th September.

2020 Parrtjima Grounded Echidna Dreaming Marcia Ashwin
Marcia Ashwin’s ‘Echidna Dreaming’ is part of the interactive Grounded series of installations at the 2020 Parrtjima Festival. Credit: Supplied

Parrtjima, hosted by the Northern Territory Government, can now be experienced virtually for the first time ever. Parrtjima is the only festival of its kind. It celebrates old and new Aboriginal art-making and storytelling through light installations, as well as talk series, live music and film screenings.

It is not the first event celebrating First Nations art to go virtual this year.

Read more here about how the NATSIAA art prize has headed online in 2020.

A crowd-pleaser every year, the main event is undoubtedly the 2-kilometre stretch of light projections illuminating the MacDonnell Ranges. The Ebb and Flow of Sky and Country features at Alice Springs Desert Park. You can also now experience the installation online on the Parrtjima Festival website. This means anyone in Australia can join in celebrating this important festival, even from as far as Sydney or Hobart.

Does your family live in the Top End? Are you keen to attend the remainder of the festival in person? There are special registration procedures to keep everyone COVID-safe. The event is free, but you must sign up on the website. It is worth visiting the event in the flesh if you can. That way, you can enjoy important Deep Listening talks featuring the likes of Stan Grant and Tracey Holmes, as well as the ever-popular Grounded projections showcasing the light works of seven new artists.

The 2020 Parrtjima theme is aptly ‘Lifting the Spirits.’ Whether you attend from home or in Alice, it will do just that!

2020 Parrtjima Emu Laying Eggs at Night_Lachlan Dodds-Watson2
Get hands-on with Lachlan Dodds-Watson’s ‘Emu Laying Eggs at Night.’ Credit: Supplied

“The knowledge we gain from artists has always been uplifting, and this year’s ‘Lifting our Spirits’ theme could not be more fitting,” says Rhoda Roberts, Parrtjima’s Curator and First Nations Advisor.

“Our program resonates with local voices, song and dance, and the art that celebrates the local Arrernte. With artworks incorporating the recognisable Central and western desert meeting place symbol, Parrtjima is a time to gather safely and experience Arrernte culture.”

In other news, Parrtjima has announced its festival dates for next year. Block out the 9th to 18th April 2021 and start dreaming up that road trip to Alice Springs.


Next up in the NT – Top End events in September

Teen Territory – Uluru and Alice Springs with teens


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