Lighting of the Sails
Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground, 2021 by the Martu Artists and Curiious
(Inspired by Yarrkalpa – Always Walking Country 2014)
With soundtrack by Electric Fields and Martu Artists
Two years in the making, a stunning new digital artwork, Yarrkalpa – Hunting Ground, 2021, created by Martumili Artists and Sydney-based creative technologists Curiious, will transform the Sydney Opera House sails this year, bringing to life the Parnngurr community and its surrounding landscape, with an accompanying soundtrack by Electric Fields featuring the vocals of the Martu Artists.
Formerly known as Tubowgule, the land on which the Opera House stands, Bennelong Point has always been a cultural gathering place for First Nations people. This year’s Lighting of the Sails will extend First Nations stories onto the country’s most iconic canvas. The artwork is inspired by the striking Martu Artists collective painting Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground, Parnngurr Area 2013 and the video artwork Yarrkalpa - Always Walking Country 2014 directed by internationally renowned artist and filmmaker Lynette Wallworth in collaboration with the Martu Artists and Anohni. The painting represents an intimate connection with Country; cataloguing seasons, traditional burning practices and cycles of regrowth, hunting and vital natural resources, as well as abstracted ancestral stories.
Through consultation and collaboration with the artists, seamless connections between the tactile 2013 painting and their digital explorations, Curiious have created an artwork bringing to life the vibrancy, energy, language and rich storytelling of the Martu.
‘Yarrkalpa – Hunting Ground, Parnngurr Area’ by Janice Yuwali Nixon (dec), Kumpaya Girgirba, Nancy Kanu Taylor (dec), Ngamaru Bidu, Nola Ngalanka Taylor, Reena Rogers, Thelma Judson & Yikartu Bumba, 2013, acrylic on linen, 500 x 300 cm. Image provided courtesy of Martumili Artists.