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Parrtjima – A Festival in Light to illuminate Alice Springs tonight

Parrtjima – A Festival in Light to illuminate Alice Springs tonight

Central Australian Aboriginal art to illuminate the Red Centre over 10 nights

The second annual Parrtjima – A Festival in Light is set to launch tonight, illuminating Alice Springs – home of the Arrernte – with extraordinary contemporary art by talented Aboriginal artists from around Central Australia over 10 nights.
The free public event will transform Alice Springs Desert Park into a mesmerising outdoor gallery of light and sound until Sunday, 1 October 2017. Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Michael Gunner MLA said: “We’re pleased to officially open Parrtjima 2017 and connect thousands of visitors from around the Territory and the world with a truly unique experience of Aboriginal art from the Red Centre, while providing meaningful artistic opportunities to Central Australian artists and paving the way for local growth in capacity, jobs and training.”
Highlights of the expanded program include a breathtaking illumination of a 300-million-year-old natural canvas, the majestic MacDonnell Ranges, a series of new installations and the Festival Knowledge Program of events involving Aboriginal artists from the central desert region.

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.” Roberts worked closely with AGB Events and Aboriginal artists and art centres from across the desert region to develop the festival program, with endorsement from the Parrtjima Festival Reference Group and ongoing consultation with a wider network of respected Arrernte persons. 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.” Visitors can enhance their experience with the Parrtjima 2017 mobile app (free download for iPhone and Android mobile devices), including the festival program, site map and details of the installations, artists and more.

The family-friendly festival is open to the public at Alice Springs Desert Park from 6:30pm to 10:30pm and visitors are asked to register their attendance for one of four sessions held each night. The Festival Knowledge Program will commence at 5:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

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.

Parrtjima (pronounced Par-CHee-ma) comes from the Arrernte group of languages. In Central and Eastern Arrernte, ‘apateme’ means ‘to have trouble understanding something’ and ‘pwarrtyeme’ means ‘to shine’. The event name suggests shedding both light and understanding on a subject.
The first Aboriginal light festival of its kind in the world, Parrtjima is proudly supported by the Northern Territory Government and event partners Northern Territory Major Events Company, AGB Events, Alice Springs Desert Park, Alice Springs Town Council, Alice in the Territory and Diggamen Civil Contracting.

Join the conversation with #Parrtjima. For more information and to register to attend, please visit -ENDS- NOTES TO EDITORS: High-resolution photos of the festival will be available by midnight on Friday, 22 September here: Password: light B-roll vision and an interview package of footage will be available by midnight on Friday, 22 September here: NOTE: Parrtjima – A Festival in Light is delivered with the support of the Alice Springs Desert Park, Northern Territory Government’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Parrtjima Festival Reference Group, which includes significant, respected Arrernte people. For more information, please visit

Media contact: Sarah Shields, +61 408 283 091 | Rachael McKenzie, +61 433 890 127 |

About Northern Territory Major Events Company Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC) is a dynamic organisation that delivers and supports significant events across the Territory. Owned by the Northern Territory Government, NTMEC was established in 1999 and has the responsibility of developing, delivering and promoting world class events in the Northern Territory.