Your free what's on guide to the NT

Down the Track – May 2021

In 2020, local artist Anna Dakin produced an exhibition about the night sky featuring artists from all over the world. Unable to present to an audience, and with many artists involved locked in cities with no dark skies to connect to, she brought the artworks to the Earth Sanctuary. It was a poetic action that sparked the beginning of a new collaboration.

By Zoya Godoroja-Prieckaerts

“The work could see the night sky and the night sky could see the work,” Anna says.

Brothers Tom and Dan Falzon run the Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre at the edge of Alice Springs. With dome-shaped homes, solar power, wind farms, recycled water systems and everything off the grid, it essentially shows us how we could sustainably live in this world if we gave it a proper go. The two were intrigued by Anna’s exhibition and soon a “funny synergy happened,” Anna recalls. Together with local Candice McCarthy, the four created the Dark Skies Festival – the first of its kind in Central Australia.

The inaugural nine-night festival presents a core program with each evening slightly different than the last. Collaborating with Anna’s other project, The Artist Expedition Society, the program has exciting input from local and international artists. Expect projection-based artworks in the landscape to immerse yourselves in, and astronomy tours with breakaway talks to feed your minds.

Each evening features a unique workshop ranging from astrophotography to kids hula-hooping the solar system; meditation of the breath and sound, to dance workshops exclusively for women to feel comfortable with their bodies at night. Generously, the festival has also reserved three nights exclusively for schools, all for free.

The most exciting night to look forward to (and we suggest you get tickets quick!) is the Supernova Cosmic Journey, where local musicians collaborate with international artists leading the audience from one performance to the next in the natural landscape under the deep dark sky. It’s sure to be a magical fusion of performance, the night and light.

There’s no denying the night skies are an asset to this region, so what better way to experience them than through a thoughtful creative festival focused on sharing its mystery, depth and beauty?

Dark Skies Festival

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