AGB Events today announced the successful conclusion of its involvement in Parrtjima: A Festival in Light which the company curates and produces on behalf of the Northern Territory Major Events Company - playing a key role in bringing the unique Indigenous art festival to life.
Parrtjima (pronounced par-chee-ma, and translated as “lighting up”) is the only authentic First Nations festival of its kind, showcasing the oldest continuous cultures on earth through the newest technology. It is also the fastest growing event in Australia. In Australia, ‘First Nations’ describes the aboriginal people – the first inhabitants of Australia - which includes over 500 different clan groups or 'nations' around the continent, many with distinctive cultures, beliefs and languages. The United Nations declared 2019 to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages and AGB Events highlighted an element of this theme in each of the installations they brought to life.
Parrtjima is set against the backdrop of the 300 million year old MacDonnell Ranges in Australia’s Northern Territory. AGB Events engaged the regular First Nations consultant, Rhoda Roberts AO (who holds the Medal of the Order of Australia), to curate the festival for a third year. Parrtjima celebrates new ways artists can push the boundaries of how indigenous art is presented, while staying true to the ancient philosophy of connection and country. The results are visually mesmerising, thought-provoking, and create a cultural experience unique in the world.
The Northern Territory Government reported that this year’s Parrtjima was a huge success, attracting 25,623 attendees over 10 nights – an amazing 25 per cent increase on last year’s event, reinforcing the uniqueness of the event, and its ability to capture the imagination and interest of a national and international audience.
“We specialise in creating and producing events that cross cultures and that celebrate creativity and technology,” said Anthony Bastic, CEO and Founder of AGB Events. “As such, it was wonderful to work with Rhoda Roberts, who is full of hugely imaginative ideas – and to turn her vision into a reality.
“AGB’s experience in curating and producing Vivid Light Sydney, now the world’s largest light festival, allowed us to design the world’s first Indigenous light festival. Having concluded our fourth year, AGB is proud that Parrtjima is now the fastest growing event in Australia,” added Bastic.
Among the numerous individual showcases AGB Events helped devise and deliver were ‘The Language of Country’, a theatrical experience unlike any other as two kilometres of the MacDonnell Ranges acted as a canvas for a series of stunning lighting effects, celebrating the beauty, uniqueness and survival of the ancient landscape. “Crowds were mesmerised by the local stories played out on the 300-million-year-old natural canvas and the voice of the land speaking through an image of a face appearing in a desert gum tree,” enthused Bastic.
‘The Language of Colour’ saw AGB Events activated a large interactive industrial container where visitors could control the lighting on the landscape in front of them. By selecting colours from a virtual palette, and using their fingers to colour in the scenery, visitors witnessed the landscape being illuminated in real-time through the magic of projection and their imaginations.
Another installation conceived by AGB Events called The Language of Kin saw visitors welcomed by an illuminated tunnel that honoured local Arrernte people by celebrating their kinship system. The immersive light installation featured an accompanying soundscape, creating a surreal and educational experience that allowed visitors to explore and experience the complex and meaningful system of kinship.
“Of course, there were huge challenges involved – but that’s what made the project so exciting and so rewarding,” continued Bastic. “We have to temper our imaginations with what we know technology can deliver – like illuminating two kilometres of mountain range, which involved creating a light show of enormous scale. But: we’ve become well known for pushing the boundaries, and we did that again: our network of trusted audiovisual partners is an enormous asset for us. Once more, Parrtjima was a huge success – and it was a privilege to be able to contribute to that success.”
Held across two event precincts over 10 nights, the free event included a public program of interactive workshops, music, films and talks.