'First authentic Indigenous light festival of its kind in the world'


p2353-festival-in-light-ok“We are extremely proud to present the first authentic Indigenous light festival of its kind in the world as we illuminate 2.5km of the Northern Territory’s majestic MacDonnell Ranges in celebration of Central Australia’s rich Aboriginal culture.”
This is how Andrew Hopper, of the NT Major Events Company, today announced the start of “Parrtjima – A Festival in Light” on September 23 for 10 days.
He says visitors can play a part in illuminating the ranges by stepping into “the interactive glass booth and take control of the panels to choose which colours you want to use to light the vast landscape, and watch your creation come to life before your eyes.
“A series of three large, light-filled caterpillar installations featuring colourful illustrations by students from Amoonguna School in Alice Springs, based on their interpretation of the Yeperenye (Caterpillar) Dreamtime story.
“The story of the Caterpillar is folklore in Central Australia, considered by the local Indigenous Arrernte community to be one of the major creation forces of Alice Springs, the heart of the Australian outback.
“Illuminated from the inside, the vibrantly lit caterpillars will be accompanied by an audio soundscape and narration by local Indigenous Elder to bring the story to life,” Mr Hopper says.
“A sequence of artworks by Indigenous artists from Alice Springs will be projected onto the desert sands with their own atmospheric soundscape.
“The projections merge art with the landscape, symbolising the return of Indigenous art to the Country – the common thread of all selected paintings.
“Artworks featured include Mervyn Rubuntja, Wenton [sic] Rubuntja, Myra Ah Chee, Gloria Pannka and Hubert Pareroultja.
“The series was created with curatorial assistance from Araluen Arts Centre.”


  1. I wonder how they can call this the first authentic indigenous light show when custodians for Mparntwe are feeling insulted by the lack of respect and consultation when the whitefellas were planning this new tourist attraction. It seems that it is co-opting corrupting and exploiting Arrernte culture rather than celebrating it.

  2. @ Penangke: I understand your concern regarding this insulting, ignorant, totally without respect theft of cultural identity, and defamatory!
    Before I saw your comment I was shocked and saddened by the statement, the words, the promotion of the event: “The story of the Caterpillar is folklore in Central Australia, considered by the local Indigenous Arrernte community to be one of the major creation forces of Alice Springs, the heart of the Australian outback.”

  3. In addition to Penangke’s comment, I would also like to know what relevance the Yeperenye story has to the Mount Gillen Range, if that is where we are talking about?
    That apwerte antherrtye (range) is associated with the actions of Gkngwelye (dog) and Utnerrengatye (emu bush grub) ancestors.
    Very similar to the Emily / Jessie Gap Nature Park that has been renamed Yeperenye Nature Park, regardless of the fact the area is Utnerrengatye country, not Yeperenye.

  4. If this really was the first truly Indigenous lightshow they wouldnt be saying that the Yeperenye story is folklore in Central Australia. For Central Arrernte people it is much more than that this. It is just another example of the lack of respect of the organisers.
    Sign the petition mentioned elsewhere on these pages.
    Andrew Hopper from major events in Darwin and Giles Westley from AGB events in Sydney eventually met with senior custodians quite some time after they had made their plans but still many months ago, long enough to change their plans.
    But no. No respect. No ethics. No integrity.

  5. Well said Penangke. How can this production proceed when they haven’t even got the right story? The process has no integrity.
    There is also no point them saying they have approvals if the people they have spoken to have given them the wrong story too.
    This undermines the Arrernte people of this area and the traditions associated with that particular range. May as well ditch the tokenistic name, “Parrtjima” too.

  6. There are very simple ways of identifying the correct custodians for Mparntwe. AAPA know who they are.
    They might try to avoid talking to them but they know who they are.
    Just because a certain person says he is Apmereke-artweye for Mparntwe it doesnt mean he is.
    This self appointed custodian is one of the wrong people that the organisers are using to corrupt and confuse Arrernte people and culture.
    He also is gathering around him other people looking to sell their culture for power and money. Another wants to bring pitji pitji people here to OK the desecration of an Arrernte site. I could go on. This new government should step in and ensure proper protocols are followed.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here