Parrtjima: 2017 program revealed

Central Australian Aboriginal art to illuminate the Red Centre: 22 September – 1 October

The second annual Parrtjima – A Festival in Light will illuminate Alice Springs with extraordinary contemporary art by some of Central Australia’s most celebrated Aboriginal artists over 10 nights from Friday, 22 September to Sunday, 1 October 2017, as revealed in the new creative program announced today.

The free public event will transform Alice Springs Desert Park into a mesmerising outdoor gallery of light and sound with a breathtaking illumination of a 300-million-year-old natural canvas, the majestic MacDonnell Ranges, and a series of new installations involving Aboriginal artists from the central desert region.

The festival program, created by Parrtjima curator and renowned First Nations creative director Rhoda Roberts OA, showcases the oldest continuous culture on earth and puts the magnificent Aboriginal art and culture of Central Australia on centre stage.

“We are proud to present the creative program for Parrtjima 2017 and look forward to bringing senior Aboriginal artists together in Alice Springs – home of the Arrernte of Mparntwe – to share their vibrant artwork and stories with thousands of visitors at this truly unique event.

“It has been a privilege to work with each artist to bring new light to their work using the newest technology, and it is our shared hope that the festival will inspire all 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.”

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.

Visitors to the free family-friendly event can explore the installations at their leisure and relax at the Festival Hub in the beautiful surrounds of Alice Springs Desert Park while sampling local food and drink. An expanded program of events, including live music and artist talks will soon be announced.

Andrew Hopper, General Manager, Northern Territory Major Events Company said: “Parrtjima is an uplifting family-friendly event, connecting visitors with original, contemporary and traditional Aboriginal art, while providing meaningful artistic opportunities to Central Australian artists and paving the way for local growth in capacity, jobs and training.”

The 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. 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, which has many dialects and ways of spelling words. 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 #ParrtjimaAustralia. For more information and to register to attend, please visit

Parrtjima – Creative Program 2017