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Vivid | Yarrkalpa

Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground 2021 illuminated the iconic Sydney Opera House sails during Vivid Sydney 2022. 

The animation was inspired by the painting Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground, Parnngurr Area 2013, created by eight talented Martu women. It portrays their deep connection with Country and beautifully captures seasons, traditional burning practices, cycles of regrowth, hunting, land management, vital natural resources, and ancestral stories passed down through generations.

Two years in the making, this visionary project is the result of a collaboration between Martumili Artists, Curiious, and myself, accompanied by a captivating soundtrack by Electric Fields.

Meeting three of the artists allowed us to gain a profound understanding of the painting's essence, and it became our responsibility to infuse this authenticity into the final piece. As the creative director, my goal was to create a portal into the artwork's intricate details and breathe life into the hidden narrative within. Even in its two-dimensional form, the multi-layered painting possessed extraordinary depth, allowing us to craft captivating animated scenes that traversed the breath taking Pilbara landscape.

Honouring the collaborative nature of the original work, we carefully assembled a diverse team of motion graphics artists, 3D animators, and students. We combined modern technologies with a deep respect for the organic and physical aspects of the artwork. This seamless integration of tactile painting and digital exploration provided a fresh perspective and enveloped the audience in an awe-inspiring visual experience.

We hope Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground 2021 offered an incredible tribute to Martu Art and became a testament to the power of collaboration, cultural appreciation, and innovative storytelling. It showcased the profound beauty and significance of Indigenous art and heritage on a grand scale.

Original painting: ‘Yarrkalpa – Hunting Ground, Parnngurr Area’ by Janice Yuwali Nixon (dec), Kumpaya Girgirba, Nancy Kanu Taylor (dec), Ngamaru Bidu, Nola Ngalanka Taylor, Reena Rogers, Thelma Judson & Yikartu Bumba.

Creative Director: Frederic Simard

Senior Producer: Lara Allen

Motion Graphics Artists: Tomas Dicker, Paul Bekarian and Jake Duczynski

3D Animator: Oscar Henry

Student Animators: Genevieve Stewart, Nina Maile Gordon, Brendan Greenwood, Sarah Upfold, Hye-Young Yoon and Annika Finch

Original Soundtrack: Electric Fields - Zaacharaiah Fielding and Michael Ross

Voice Recording: Martu Women, Lore Women and Men of Mimilli

Special thanks to the Sydney Opera House, DNSW, and the incredible team at Martumili Art Center for their trust and support. A heartfelt thank you to Rhoda Roberts for her invaluable advice. We are grateful to Kim Mahood and Lynette Wallworth for generously sharing their intimate knowledge of the painting.


The Painting

Behind the scenes