Australia's largest light show Vivid Sydney is shining a light on the First Nations people of Sydney.
The 22-day arts festival is in its twelfth year of transforming the CBD into a giant canvas for lights, music and contemporary art. The centrepiece of Vivid Sydney is the white sails of the Sydney Opera House, the headquarters of the festival onto which images are projected.
When this year's festival kicks off on August 6, the opening illuminations will honour the Gadigal people.
"Lighting of the Sails is an especially significant event this year" says festival programmer and Head of Contemporary Music at the Opera House, Ben Marshall. "The new digital artwork Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground, 2021 is a First Nations collaboration between the Pilbara's eight Martu Artists and Sydney's Curiious."
The first images will reflect the visual culture of the Gadigal as traditional owners of Tubowgule, as the land is called on which the building stands.
"Very few cities in the world at this time have the good fortune to come together like this, and I sincerely hope Vivid Sydney provides a moment for Sydney to surrender to art and beauty in a time of great turbulence," said Marshall.
The work incorporates paintings by Martu reflecting the seasons, traditional burning practices and cycles of regrowth.
"I look forward to Vivid Sydney being part of an extraordinary moment for the city I love."
Music is just as integral a part of the Vivid Sydney festival as light. The programme is the largest to date and will showcase 17 Sydney Opera House debut acts. The brief of this year's festival is honouring First Nations and "fostering a shared sense of belonging for all Australians".
While this year is a celebration of Australia's traditional custodians, there are a number of New Zealand acts who have been invited to take part.
R&B singer TEEKS will be headlining this year alongside Kiwi artists Tiny Ruins and Connan Mockasin, bringing a taste of Māoritanga to the programme.
New Zealand Herald's Maggie Wicks was in attendance at the programme launch, as one of many New Zealanders enjoying the freshly restored travel links.
With the transtasman travel bubble now in place, festival director Gill Minervini has extended the invitation across the Ditch, welcoming Kiwis to explore the city's "playground of the unexpected".
"New Zealanders have a huge appetite for adventure and events, and I encourage them all to start planning their visit to Vivid Sydney now," said tourism minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres.
For more information visit vividsydney.com