Yabarra – Gathering of Light


Team illuminart are excited to announce Yabarra – Gathering of Light has won two national awards at the 2019 Australian Event Awards:  Showtex Australia Best Achievement in Design, Look or Theming and Aggreko Best New Event.  It was also a finalist in the Best Cultural, Arts or Music Event category.  

This is amazing recognition for the project on the Australian events landscape. We are really thrilled and say thank you on behalf of all our team, and our collaborators Yellaka+Adelaide Fringe and partners + Epson+Novatech.

Yabarra was commissioned by Adelaide Fringe and created by illuminart, Karl Telfer (Yellaka) and Adelaide Fringe, brought to life through projectors by EPSON and lighting by Novatech. The Fringe 2019 signature project transformed the River bank of Karra Wirra Parri / Torrens River with installations expressing First Nation cultural perspectives of the place, its past and future. It was seen by an estimated 300,000 people during the 31 nights.

Cultural producer Karl Telfer describes the work: “Yabarra is a gathering to bring together ways of understanding through light. Story, sound, song and illumination combine to share knowledge of the past, present and future, in the now. Seasons follow light, they inform patterns of behaviour through land, sea and sky country. All sacred ecologies are bound to these laws of nature. Yabarra holds deep wisdom. Yabarra’s creators, the Mullawirrameyunna clan group of the Kaurna Nation invite you to share in the spirit of place. Yabarra holds a message for all generations.”

One of our favourite things this Fringe! Thank you - it was amazing.

Play and Go Adelaide
  • The elements of Yabarra included sculptures, free standing installations, lighting and projection onto ground, buildings and trees. Below is a complete list of all installations in Yabarra.

    ANIMALS ALIVE (Burro Mandi) – illuminated story inflatables

    Combining hand made inflatable art by Evelyn Roth, Stories by Karl Telfer and Yellaka, with sound and light production by illuminart and Novatech. Featuring Narkirra the Platypus, Kadli the Dingo, Yura the great creation ancestor (Serpent), Marti the Bilby, Kutpiatta the Echidna and Mabo the Quoll. Song, sound and light bring life to animals who once lived freely along Tarndaparri, the River Torrens. All of the animals hold a deep cultural and spiritual connection with the river and water. Listen for the sound of their heartbeat and pause for a moment to hear as they share their story.

    IMMERSIVE SOUND WALK (Perkendi Tappa)

    This immersive walk combines three parallel channels of sound, and the language of the six seasons of the year told by Karl Telfer and Yellaka.

    Listen to the sounds of the ever-changing landscape. The seasonal sounds of nature and culture will guide your movements through the six seasons of time. Thought, feeling through natural songs of the land. The immersive soundscape was a pathway alongside the riverbank where standing or moving along the 150m pathway would lead you through an immersive experience of the sounds of the six seasons known to the Kaurna people.

    BREATH TREES – Karra Kattendi – lantern sculptures

    Lantern colums combining textile and steel designed by illuminart and featuring artwork by Carly Dodd, Christine Tschuna, Fah Fah Walsh, Tony Wilson, Ashley Pompey (Jnr),Bailey Gibb, Cooper Miller, Daqwan Saunders, Henry Reid, Sabrina Burgoyne – and the sounds and cultural knowledge of Karl Telfer and Yellaka.

    These Trees are the cultural reflections of the coming generations understanding of today. They hold ancestral story which speaks of the natural world and a time when the First Peoples connection to the land was clear, strong and vibrant . If you walk around the family of trees you will see the relationships of the Artists world and their connection to their cultural ways of understanding as the first peoples of the land, sea and sky country. This is where the breathing landscape meets the harsh cityscape. The taller the tree, the longer it has lived, the higher the tree, the more knowledge, the deeper the roots, the more profound the wisdom. The tallest breath trees represent the Grandparents, then the parents and then the children who are listening to the teachings and sharing their learnings in colour and story.

    SIT LOOK LISTEN – Tikkandi, Nukkondi, Yurringarnendi – interactive lights

    An interactive installation where a sitting and waiting, will allow you to see the constellations come to life with a story for each season.

    When you sit respectfully you will learn somethings about land, sea and sky country. Images will be revealed and language shared through ways of understanding. Look at the light listen to the sound and you will learn something new. The Old People would only speak to those whose eyes, ears and hearts are open. They could tell if you were paying attention so if there was something to learn you would always have to be patient and wait.

    DREAMING HANDS – Munaintya Murra – interactive projections

    Murra in language means hand and your hand is important as they carry story and create new story.

    This installation is for you to add your story through the touch of your hand. You can do this by yourself or with a friend, and watch as your Dreaming Hands come to life in this interactive projection artwork.  Become a part of the creation.

    MIST RAIN – Kauwemela – Waterscreen projections

    Water and light combine in a grand display on a misty screen over 8 metres high, to share stories and reflections passed through time. The River Torrens is why the City of Adelaide sits here today. This river is a song of fresh water. Song, sound and moving image will tell the story of how the men, women, animals and river once lived together in harmony a long time ago, and carry forward these traditions today.

    ABOVE BELOW – Karra Karra Womma – Large scale projection onto trees.

    Projecting the cycle of life along the river bank that happens in a day, from the Kookaburra at dawn through to the dingo, owls and bats at night. Hear the creatures come to life and go to sleep, and discover the abundant life that calls the river its home.

    LIVING SKY LIVING GROUND (Karlto Ngaiere – Karlto Yerta) and SPIRIT TREES (Karra Towilla) – Synchronised Ground projection and tree projection

    This expansive installation combines ground projection, with projection of family members into trees. The installation was designed by Karl Telfer with the production by illuminart animators.

    The faces of the people you see represent some of the generations of families who are descendants of country. Their hands carry and hold the coming generations and the stories of their families forward. It is important to share the living culture that is alive today. The story being shared is about the Banba-banbalyarnendi – the gathering of the tribes, the people of the land.

    The circle holds the cyclic cultural knowledge and stories of the changing land. The movements of the people were guided by the environmental elements and the star movements above, we have six seasons, three these are directed related to stars and constellations, this was known as star lore and they influenced the coming and going of the other three seasons. All animals, fish, flowers, cloud, rain, wind and flood were influenced by natural Lore and the behaviour of the climate

    MEMORY TREES (Goanna, Coolamon, Shield)

    Sculptures designed by Karl Telfer, fabricated by Lee Shiels in collaboration with illuminart, with lights installed at site.

    Trees hold the memories of time; the historians of humanity. They hold a cultural timeline of ceremony and connection to the land which is sacred. Pause in memory with the trees. There is a message you will receive from each of them. If you look closely at the bark, Memory Tree will share images of light, history and place.

    MEMORY TREE (Moving Image) – Karra Mukabandi – Yaitya Makkitura

    Featuring projection compiled by Karl Telfer and illuminart, showing bees inside the trunk and historic images and photographs of the bank, 200 years ago.

    Cultural Significance: The early settlers recorded many accounts and images of what they witnessed in and around Tarndaparri (Red Kangaroo – River) before it’s renaming in 1836 by Colonel William Light after Robert Torrens who was Chairperson of the first Colonisation Commission and tasked with promoting the Settlement of South Australia, Adelaide. The images hold many stories of a changing culture from the impact of Colonisation on the tribal clans, the first peoples of country. The break down of the tribal family clan system and the homogenising of all the clans people under an introduced title by Norman Tindale, today known as the Kaurna has created cultural, social and economic issues. Trees are old and they too have witnessed and felt the impact of this change as almost all of the old trees were cut down to make fences for sheep throughout the settlement. But some of them are still here and like us, they are seeking “Survival in their own Land”.

  • Project ID # 1163