Parrtjima: A Festival in Light reveals expanded knowledge program ·

Parrtjima: A Festival in Light reveals expanded knowledge program

The complete and official program for Parrtjima – A Festival in Light 2019 has been revealed, with a diverse array of workshops, talks, films and live music filling out the schedule for this year’s much-anticipated event.

Running alongside the festival’s impressive light installations, the Knowledge Program has been designed to deepen the visitor experience and provide varied platforms for First Nations artists and respected Arrernte Elders to holistically share their art, knowledge and culture.

The free ten-night program has been curated by renowned creative director Rhoda Roberts AO under the 2019 theme of Language Expressions and will illuminate the visitor experience across two event precincts; Alice Springs Desert Park and Todd Mall in Alice Springs CBD.

Roberts said she is thrilled to present the final elements of this year’s festival line up, which will complement Parrtjima’s breathtaking light installations and add another layer of excitement for those visiting Australia’s Red Centre for the annual arts and culture extravaganza.

“From a thought-provoking conversation with First Nations author Bruce Pascoe as part of our talks and ideas series, to dancing to the rhythms of our many musicians including Young Australian of the Year Baker Boy, there is a little something for everyone,” she said.

Alongside seven unique lighting installations, the full program will feature a range of exciting experiences including:


Nine up-close and personal ‘Talks and Ideas’ sessions will take place as part of this year’s festival. Join festival curator Rhoda Roberts AO in conversation with Dark Emu author Bruce Pascoe or local musician Warren H Williams. Expand your thinking with Indigenous activist Thomas Mayor discussing the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ or Dr. Paul Burke on language and First Nations doctoral education. Delve deeper into the stories behind the lights and hear from representatives from the Parrtjima Festival Reference Group and participating artists including David and Frances Wallace from Tapatjatjaka Arts Centre, Julie Peterson and Annette Nungala from Barkly Regional Arts Centre and Hannah Nungarrayi. Get behind the lights and hear from the festival’s creative consultants and producers AGB Events, and lighting designer Richard Neville, on what it takes to bring Parrtjima together.


Experience Parrtjima in a new light, with an amazing array of performances set against the ambient surrounds of the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges. Alongside Baker Boy, this year’s musical line up will include singer/songwriter Mojo Juju, Central Australian musicians Frank Yamma and Phil Wales, former members of the Warumpi Band Sammy Butcher and Neil Murray, rising rock stars Black Rock Band, Melbourne-based Alice Skye as well as local performers Casii Williams, Paul Ah Chee and Kirra Voller.


Sit back and expand your horizons with film screenings each night of the festival. Drawing from a combination of local and national filmmakers, the festival cinema at the Todd Mall precinct will screen films every night across the Parrtjima calendar. From family favourites such as Bran Nue Dae and Storm Boy and gripping dramas like Crocodile Dreaming and Australian Rules through to educational shorts and documentaries like Talking Language, Land of the Little Kings, Kwatye and Croker Island Exodus, there will be something for everyone.


To give visitors a chance to deepen their understanding of elements from the festival, a series of free workshops and demonstrations will form part of the Knowledge Program. Alice Springs Desert Park will play host to nightly language workshops and kinship demonstrations while the Todd Mall precinct will showcase spear making demonstrations and sand and dot painting workshops.

Parrtjima (pronounced Par-Chee-ma) means ‘lighting up’ and conveys two meanings: physically illuminating an object with light and ‘lighting up’ as in to shed light and understanding on a subject. The free public festival is the only First Nations light festival of its kind in the world, proudly showcasing some of the oldest continuous cultures on Earth through the newest technology against the backdrop of the incredible MacDonnell Ranges – a 300-million-year-old natural canvas.

Festival curator Rhoda Roberts worked closely with First Nations artists and art centres from across the Central and Western Desert regions to develop the Knowledge and Creative Program, with endorsement from the Parrtjima Festival Reference Group and ongoing consultation with a wider network of respected Arrernte persons.

To view the full festival program or register for one of the many workshops, visit

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