The Heartbeat of Elements of Country 2017

Apmere Ahelhe Itethe (All Country is Alive)*

We explore the elements of this country, Arrernte Country.

At Parrtjima – A Festival in Light 2017, the majestic MacDonnell Ranges continued to be illuminated with a stunning display of light treatment and sound celebrating the heartbeat of country expressed through the elements of wind, fire and water.

Up to two kilometres of the 300-million-year-old natural canvas was illuminate with a six-minute theatrical light display timed to music, playing on a 20-minute cycle during the Parrtjima season. The spectacle respects the life of the land and its elements, reflecting their drama and inherent beauty.

The kaleidoscopic display of colour, texture and movement is the result of consultation with a network of senior Arrernte people, many of whom are recognised as decision-makers and caretakers for the area and who gave this display on the range the Arrernte name and spellings: Alhe Itethe (Central and Eastern Arrernte) and Arna Itatha (Western Arrarnta), saying it means: “the sands and lands are alive, it’s all alive and we are all still here”.  Over time and with ongoing consultation, this title developed to Apmere Ahelhe Itethe (All Country is Alive).

The installation used a series of new, exciting theatrical lighting effects to accentuate the elements of wind, fire and water on the three hundred and fifty metre high canvas.

The soundtrack for the display includes an Apmereke-artweye (Traditional Owner) for Mparntwe, Benedict Kngwarraye Stevens and senior Arrernte people Warren H. Mpetjana Williams, Kumalie Kngwarraye Riley, Peter Peltharre Wallace (Coco) and Phyllis Stevens.

The towering MacDonnell Range installation was viewed from many vantage points across Alice Springs.

* Arrernte titles provided by respected senior Arrernte person, Kumalie Riley. At the festival site, the original soundscape and information will include descriptions in Arrernte, with Arrernte provided by local Arrernte elder, Felicity Hayes, and an Apmereke-artweye for Mparntwe, Benedict Kngwarraye Stevens.

Other spaces featured at Parrtjima