“How the Waratah Became Red” Katoomba’s Winter Magic Festival 2022

The Winter Magic Festival activated the Civic Centre on Katoomba Street from the 24th to 27th of August 2022, when the plaza wall featured a projected cultural story after sunset each night. The moving image display featured a sequence of original artworks by First Nations Artist Leanne Tobin, animated into a video loop by the creative projection team, illuminart stories in light after consultation with Leanne.

‘How the Waratah Became Red’ played for free from sundown till around 9:30pm.

The Winter Magic Festival seeks new pathways to highlight First Nation culture & stories. Multimedia platforms create a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone and this collaboration between the illuminart team and Leanne Tobin builds on several previous cultural projects they have co-created. This event was the first time they have created a project together for the Blue Mountains and the piece will become an important legacy for the artists, Winter Magic and the Blue Mountains.

Leanne Tobin, as collaborating cultural artist, shares some background on the creation of this animation in collaboration with illuminart.

The Waratah holds deep significance to the First nations people throughout the mountains and beyond, representing for many a symbol of friendship and peace.

A special and unique flower, there are many stories about the red Waratah. This is one shared local story that tells how the Waratah became red.

Leanne Tobin is a multidisciplinary artist of Irish, English and Aboriginal heritage descending from the Buruberong and Wumali clans of the Dharug, the traditional Aboriginal people of the Greater Sydney region. Leanne works collaboratively with community groups, local schools and institutions, using her art to tell local stories and to evoke an environmental conscience and respect towards the land and its original people. Leanne’s art practice seeks to encourage an open and honest dialogue about the past and to nurture, respect and care for Country, paying homage to our Old People and their legacy.

The Wonga and the White Waratah – Leanne Tobin 2022

The team at illuminart stories in light are artists and technologists who design, install and maintain permanent projection art installations with a focus on cultural and regional arts and tourism. They also design and present cultural projects, tourism and cultural events. The team are based in the Blue Mountains, regional SA, regional NSW and Adelaide, and collaborate with artists and communities around Australia.

The Winter Magic Festival is designed to reactivate Katoomba’s local business district and the Blue Mountains arts sector by encouraging locals and tourists to visit and experience what the Mountains have to offer, with a vast range of great food, world famous landmarks and beautiful places to stay.

Learn more about the cultural story presented at Winter Magic Festival 2023 here.