Beginning in May 2023, the world’s largest light show, a stunning, fully-immersive sound and light show at Ayers Rock Resort, Australia, will explode as never seen before anywhere in the world. It combines ancient Anangu storytelling and state-of-the-art drone and laser technology. Shows will continue until December.
Anangu are one of the oldest continuous cultures around the world. They have been custodians of Australia, and its many stories are passed down from the Mala people. Called the Wintjiri Wiru experience, or beautiful view to the horizon, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia worked closely with the Anangu to bring this colossal event to life.
The Wintjiri Wiru experience was designed and produced by the world-famous RAMUS Media Architecture Studio. One thousand luminous drones will lift ancient Mala images to the sky and shine on Uluru (Ayers Rock). These will be accompanied by narrations in Anangu native languages, and a soundtrack featuring traditional Anangu music will be performed by Anangu members.
The Mala Story
The Mala story will be the first Indigenous story of its kind to be shared on this scale and frequency and is important Tjukurpa. Tjukurpa has many complex meanings and is a philosophy that links Anangu to the environment and their ancestors. Tjukurpa stories talk about the beginning of time when ancestral beings first created the world. These stories contain important lessons about the land and how to survive in the desert, as well as rules for appropriate behavior.
Tjukurpa stories are also used like maps as they tell Anangu where important places are, how to travel from one place to another, and where and when to find water and food. These stories are not simple since they represent complex explanations of the origins and structure of the universe and the place and behavior of all elements in it.
The Mala People and the Rock
Legends tell us the Mala people originated in North Australia and migrated south to the center of the country. There they were drawn to this large, monolithic rock (Uluru) and decided to make it their home. Two Wintalka men approached while they were setting up and invited them to their inma (ceremony) The Mala people said they had begun their own ceremonies and these could not be stopped.
The Wintalka returned to their home angry at being put off, so they created an evil spirit – a huge devil-dog called Kurpany – to destroy the Mala inma. Two groups of frightened Mala people fled to South Australia where they live today.
The Anangu people are aborigines who descended from the group of Mala people who remained at the rock. They consider the python (woman) and poisonous snakes (man) to be sacred. Their history has never been written but instead passed down orally. Stories, art, dance, and song are the transmission vehicles keeping their history alive today.
Even now, their centuries-old art remains inscribed on Uluru. Many shelters in the rock exhibit the etchings that the Anangu carved into the rock. These were created by mixing water, animal fat, and minerals to allow their art to shine with bright reds, yellows, and oranges.
The Anangu actually own the Uluru and continue to use it for their worship experiences. They believe the rock is alive, being the resting place for their past spirits. They belief this rock (known to most of us as Ayers Rock) began forming 550 million years ago becoming one of the world’s largest monoliths. Fortunately, this protected area has been made into a national park and climbing the rock is not allowed.
Collaboration with the Community
The fantastic light show has been created by RAMUS studio in collaboration with the Anangu people. These people advised on the visuals, named the event, narrated their story, and produced the music. The show is displayed on a specially-built platform on top of a sand dune within sight of Ayers Rock. Special seating was devised for viewing the event.
For three hours, as darkness begins to rob the light, viewers are offered canapes and cocktails followed by a gourmet dinner featuring native ingredients and Australian wines. The show begins with full darkness. A second, shorter show of one hour with light refreshments is offered each evening also.
The Anangu people have been central to the execution of this show, guaranteeing its authenticity and sharing their cultural and spiritual history. Located at Australia’s most sacred center allows for an illuminating and captivating experience and is offered until December 2023. Accommodations may be reserved at the Ayers Rock Resort. The resort also houses the Wintjiri Arts & Museum space where you can watch local Indigenous artists create their masterworks. Experience both the working museum and this most significant light show with a trip to Australia.
Fact: Ayers Rock was made a national park in 1950
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