Lifting Our Spirits

11-20 September, 2020

Building on the previous years impressive festival events, Parrtjima – A Festival in Light created another story to be added to Alice Springs and Central Australia. For those who were unable to make the 2020 Lifting Our Spirits – Parrtjima Festival, we bring you some of the images from that event.

The festival featured an impressive array of Aboriginal artists and speakers, live music, storytelling, creative workshops, cabaret and film screenings.

Headlined by one of Australia’s most treasured performers, Archie Roach AM, the program features multi-award winner singer/songwriter Casey Donovan and Australian earth sound band OKA.

The artist line-up also includes award-winning Territory singer-songwriter Shellie Morris, Alice Springs musician Paul Ah Chee of AMUNDA fame, Arrernte performer and 2006 NAIDOC Artist of the Year Warren H Williams, the Southeast Desert Metal Band and hip hop duo Karnage n Darknis alongside DJ Jimblah.

The film program includes screenings of Maya Newell’s feature documentary In My Blood it Runs, which follows the experiences of a 10-year-old Arrernte boy in Alice Springs, and The Final Quarter, a confronting look at the experience of AFL footballer Adam Goodes after he called out racism.

Workshops include watercolour painting with artists from the acclaimed Namatjira School of Arts, spear making, dot painting and the Parrtjima Plate, where attendees will learn how to cook with bush foods.

New for this year, the Deep Listening program includes a fascinating line-up of speakers including Kriol Kitchen presenter Mitch Torres, AFL legend and local Arrernte man, Greg McAdam.

Source: 2020 Parrtjima Program – Lifting Our Spirits, 2 March 2020, Media Statement, Northern Territory Government Newsroom,

One of the key stories depicted at Parrtjima 2020 is about grass seed.

Grass Seed by Greg McAdam – Skin Name: Ampetyane
“A proper dreaming story. From my Country, Yambah. I honestly believe that if we’re going to start educating kids with tools and giving them guidance, we’ve got to start with love. We’ve got to start with story, song and dance. And with taking kids out on Country, to fill young people up. When they know that story, then they can dance that story, from the soles of their feet. then they can learn as whole people, so they can understand who they are, what they are and what they are about, strengthening themselves and heart and mind and soul.”

Another of the key stories depicted at Parrtjima 2020 is about the bush yam.

Alatye ‘Bush Yam’ – Rachel Wallace
“The circles are different tribes, the circle in the middle is us. The little ones are tribes and families just starting to know us, making their way to us. The little flowers are a guide for the ones who are travelling. The one in the middle is the bush yam, like the pretty woman – she didn’t know who to fall for, so she turned herself into an Alatye (bush yam).” — Source: Festival signage.

Arleye ‘Emu’
Did you know there are stories of the ancient days when the old people across the country would tell stories how emu had wings? They feature in many stories across Australia and were an important animal.

Their oil was used for medicinal purpose, the feathers were often made into ceremonial costumes and the tendons of the emu were made into string. Their bones were carved to make knives and other implements and the meat provided nourishment. The eggs were also a great source of food. — Source: Festival signage.

Some facts relating to the emu
Did you known that emus can only walk forwards, not back?
Skip, hop and explore this giant footprint to discover all the facts about the emu, then teach your friends and family too!

Arleye-le Kwarte Mape Mpwaremem Ingwe – ‘Emu Laying Eggs at Night’
Lachland Dodds-Watson is a 23 year old artist from Alice Springs. He went to school in Adelaide where he trained to be a football player. However, the call of home was so strong he returned to Alice Springs.

Lachlan’s emu shape and style for Emu Laying Eggs at Night is taken from the artwork of his father, who gave Lachland permission to start his own paintings, expressed in his own contemporary style.

There are many paintings about emus, but this artwork is about how Lachlan sees the emu, with a glowing, full moon effect. — Source: Festival signage.

Always a special part of the festival is the Range Light Show, a spectacular audio visual of light and sound.

For those who did not make Parrtjima in 2020… check out the Parrtjima vitual tour (by the NT Major Events Company) and visit their website to look at previous years event and stories behind each event…

Parrtjima Quick Link: Home | 2020 | 2021