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2020 Lifting our Spirits

Look up and let your spirit soar as the annual Parrtjima Festival connects us all through story, art, landscape and light.

In 2020, Parrtjima celebrates ‘Lifting our Spirits’ as the festival continues to tell age-old Aboriginal stories through new technologies across two main venues, Desert Park and Todd Mall.

This year, the focus will be on water, the cosmos and country with a diverse program that includes the lighting of the majestic MacDonnell Ranges, unique, large-scale sculptural installations in the desert, a national line-up of artists and performers plus a series of conversations, called Deep Listening, with writers, academics and storytellers.

Parrtjima 2020 is all about lifting the spirits from the work of artists – old and new – to the spirits of audiences who discover the festival across Mparntwe (Alice Springs).

It is a dazzling light and art event in the desert landscape unlike anywhere else in the world.


Stories are about belonging  – They are about connection to country

Each evening prepare to be transported to another world as nearly 2km of the beautiful MacDonnell ranges comes to life with spectacular lighting effects, all crowned by the brilliant star-scape above.

Visitors are invited to embrace the rich, sensory experience of large-scale sculptural installations. They are also called to be inspired and uplifted by stories told and shared on Arrernte country.

In 2020, it is the continuum of story, of the cycles that connect the Arrernte people to water ‘kwatye’, to the six seasons of country and to the sky, stars and moon phases, which will consistently lift spirits for the duration of the festival.

Stories are rooted in the past; a past when Arrernte country, now known as the red heart of Australia, was almost entirely covered by a vast sea populated with marine life.


To lift our spirits, people need to know country

From this mega-fauna period, creation times are told today through stories, song and dance and when Aboriginal people and, in turn, visitors share in the knowledge of the creation spirits as they travelled across Australia, creating landscape, ranges and gorges that assist with the flow of waters and the connection to the cosmos, everyone’s spirit dances and soars.

From inland waters, desert soaks, and rivers to wetlands, sea islands, reefs, sandbars and sea grass beds, all have a creator story along with the connection of Aboriginal song lines that have mapped country.

What unites all of us, are the constellations that we look to for guidance, navigation and wisdom of when to travel, to harvest and to celebrate.

To lift all our spirits, people need to know country, they need to understand place and they need to connect to belonging in this vast continent. Welcome.