Parrtjima Festival

Fri 8th April, 2022 – Sun 17th April, 2022
Alice Springs
Price: Free
The MacDonnell Ranges are lighting up with glowing Aboriginal art, music from Dan Sultan, BARKAA and King Stingray, a retrospective of filmmaker Warwick Thornton, and so much more.

Glowing artworks in the desert are certainly the drawcard of the 10-night festival Parrtjima (pronounced “par-chee-ma”, meaning “lighting up”). Its backdrop is the spectacular 300-million-year-old Yeperenye (MacDonnell Ranges), which are illuminated by a two-kilometre stretch of light installations.

The nightly light installations, which run till 10.15pm, are accompanied by an audio soundscape. The theme, Sky Country, takes you through songlines relating to the way people survived in the desert for decades, one of which is about the Aboriginal connections to the budgerigar.

The evolving sideshows of music, film and food are becoming an equivalent beacon for visitors, too. Dan Sultan, BARKAA, King Stingray, headline the music program, and the schedule includes concerts, film screenings and workshops by social enterprise House of Darwin and fashion and textiles powerhouse Nina Fitzgerald.

House of Darwin’s founder Shaun Edwards, a former AFL player and Larrakia man, leads the screen-printing workshops with Kakadu, Torres Strait Islander and Wuthathi woman Fitzgerald. Another workshop is earring painting with Zoe Fitzpatrick, a Yanyuwa and Garrawa woman from Borroloola and Alice Springs.

Everything is free to attend, but the workshops are popular and can book out in advance. Others include pottery, healing through digital storytelling and a beats-making workshop with rapper, drummer and music composer Dobby.

There’s also a food demonstration by Rayleen Brown, a Ngangiwumirr and Eastern Arrernte woman and founder of Kungkas Can Cook. She’ll be sharing bush food knowledge derived from thousands of years of sustainability experience.

An intimate talks program includes discussions with well-known artists about their community work, not just the music or screen careers we might know them for.

And a retrospective of filmmaker Warwick Thornton includes screenings of We Don’t Need a Map (2018) and The Darkside (2013), but also his documentaries and cinematography work.

Thornton’s daughter, Rona Glynn-McDonald, is the CEO of not-for-profit Common Ground and she’ll be at Parrtjima to talk about her series of sleep stories by First Nations storytellers, along with Dakota Feirer and transdisciplinary artist Carmen Glynn-Braun (also related to Thornton).

Events are free to attend.