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Sails lit yellow

Lighting of the Sails

Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground, 2021 by the Martu Artists and Curiious

With soundtrack by Electric Fields and Martu Artists (Inspired by Yarrkalpa – Always Walking Country 2014)

A stunning new digital artwork, Yarrkalpa – Hunting Ground, 2021, created by the Martu Artists and Sydney-based 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 and the Martu Artists.

Extending First Nations stories on 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, animation artists Curiious have created an artwork bringing to life the vibrancy, energy, language and rich storytelling of the Martu.

Woman in colourful shirt walks past a large colourful artwork called ‘Yarrkalpa – Hunting Ground, Parnngurr Area’ by eight Martu women
‘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.

Lighting of the Sails Tour

Audio-described session

Take a front row seat on the Western Broadwalk and listen to live visual descriptions of this year’s images projected onto the iconic Opera House Sails. This session is for patrons who are blind or have low vision and their companions.

Lighting of the Sails, 'Austral Flora Ballet' by Andrew Thomas Huang at Vivid LIVE 2019, Vivid Sydney, Sydney Opera House

Watch all Lighting the Sails from the past decade

The Sails have been lit with stunning artwork from the past decade, from groundbreaking visual studios to the sacred art of our First Nations people. Journey back and watch all of these artworks and learn about the creators behind them.