Parrtjima 2022 lights up Alice Springs skies

In Attractions, Australian Cultural Exports, Australian Domestic Tourism, Featured Home Page News, Northern Territory

The Parrtjima festival will bring an abundance of Aboriginal art, culture and entertainment to the Northern Territory, with this year’s theme exploring First Nations people and their relationship with the environment.

The opening weekend featured hit East Arnhem band King Stingray on Friday night, with Emma Donovan and The Putbacks on the bill for Saturday, and Ray Ray McKenzie and Tilly Tjala Thomas on stage on Sunday.

A Parrtjima festival virtual tour

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from nt news 9.4.22

BRIGHT colours and beautiful culture have returned to Alice Springs as Parrtjima launched.

The festival, in town for 10 nights from Friday, with the promise of an abundance of Aboriginal art, culture and entertainment.

As well as the large-scale light installations and MacDonnell Ranges lightshow, the 2022 free event includes Aboriginal artists, performers and experts.

The opening weekend featured hit East Arnhem band King Stingray on Friday night, with Emma Donovan and The Putbacks on the bill for Saturday, and Ray Ray McKenzie and Tilly Tjala Thomas on stage on Sunday.

Workshops over the first few days include screen printing with House of Darwin, pottery with the Hermannsburg Potters and seed jewellery making with the Ikuntji Artists.

Those taking part in the talks and panel program include journalist Narelda Jacobs and Indigenous water science and Associate Professor Bradley Moggridge, who will discuss how they believe ancient knowledge can inform current climate policy.

Sky Country is the theme of this year’s Parrtjima, and focuses on our place in the universe and the relationship First Nations people have with the environment.

Parrtjima curator Rhoda Roberts said the 2022 event would pivot on “our place in the universe”.

“This year’s theme … explores First Nations people and their relationship with the environment,” she said.

“As the country opens up it’s a time to take your next experience and discover a place that makes you feel alive with the celebration of an ancient culture.

“We know of the connection to country, but here you’ll learn about the stories of the Arrernte sky, that is so big and vast you’re reminded of your place in the cosmos.”

National festival to return to the Territory

Garma will return to northeast Arnhem Land in July.

The nationally recognised Yolngu festival was cancelled due to Covid for the past two years.

Now in its 22nd year the Garma Festival will welcome visitors from across the country from Friday July 29 to Monday August 1, at Gulkula, a Gumatj ceremonial site about 40kms from Nhulunbuy.

The theme for this year’s event is Nhanga Ngathilyurra, a Yolngu phrase which means to look ahead or look toward the future.

Yothu Yindi Foundation chief executive Denise Bowden said the festival would focus on work the foundation had achieved including supporting the region’s new aged care facility and opening a bilingual 0-12 years school in Gunyangara.

Yothu Yindi Foundation chief executive Denise Bowden has advocated for a new education pipeline that will centre Yolngu knowledge. Picture: Amanda Parkinson

Yothu Yindi Foundation chief executive Denise Bowden has advocated for a new education pipeline that will centre Yolngu knowledge. Picture: Amanda Parkinson

“In the spirit of the theme, we’re now ‘looking ahead’ to completing the final stages of the education pipeline – a residential secondary school and a tertiary facility.”

Organisers say there will be a strong local focus to the festival that demonstrates the strength of Yolngu culture and centres regional voices at political and national levels.

“Aboriginal regional policy has taken a bit of a dive since Covid,” Ms Bowden told ABC Radio National.

“Its really hard for remote voices to emerge during this (pandemic) but we have our 13 clan preferred governance model that we are going to be trying to help explain.”

The main forum, which brings together some of the greatest minds in the country – crossing cultural lines – will this year centre on education. The forum always aims to find ways to highlight and progress Aboriginal ideas and this year no doubt will feature some of the incredible results Yothu Yindi Foundation have had with partnered projects like Dhupuma Barker, Studio Schools Australia and Melbourne University.

“There’s always a lot of excitement in the air ahead of Garma, but it feels extra special this year after so much time apart,” Ms Bowden said.

Dancing at the 2019 Garma Festival. Picture: Melanie Faith Dove

Dancing at the 2019 Garma Festival. Picture: Melanie Faith Dove

“Our art centres are bursting at the seams with new work to share with our guests, and local bands and musicians are jumping at the chance to get back onstage and perform again.

Festival organisers say the event will have significant covid safety measures for attendees and to ensure the safety of community. Northeast Arnhem boasts vaccination rates of in the mid-to-high 90 per cent.

Festival tickets can be purchased through the Yothu Yindi Foundation.

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