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Sails lit yellow

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 

Curious Team
Lead Creative and Animator: Frederic Simard
Senior Producer: Lara Zoe Allen
Motion Graphics Artists: Tomas Dicker, Paul Bekarian and Jake Duczynski
3D Animator: Oscar Henry
Student Animators: Genevieve Stewart, Nina Maile Gordon, Brendan Greenwood, Sarah Upfold, Hye-Young Yoon and Annika Finch

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.

Yarrkalpa – Hunting Ground, Parnngurr Area

Spirit of collaboration inspires ground-breaking Vivid LIVE sails artwork

Emily Nicol speaks to the creators of this year's extraordinary Vivid Lighting of the Sails artwork: the Martumili Artists, musicians Electric Fields, and creative technologists Curiious.

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, '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.