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World-famous train transformed into moving art

External art wrap on the Ghan complemented by immersive light installation

The world-renowned Ghan train, which travels “through the heart of Australia”, has been transformed into a spectacular piece of moving art, complemented by a spectacular immersive light installation inside one of the carriages.

Three carriages of the Ghan have been wrapped in Aboriginal artist Chantelle Mulladad’s stunning design Crossroads, as it travels from Darwin to the Red Centre, with the engaging visual light display providing a taste of things to come at Aboriginal light festival Parrtjima – A Festival in Light 2021, currently running until April 18 in Alice Springs.

Tourism Northern Territory in collaboration with NT Major Events Company (NTMEC), Journey Beyond and AGB Events with the help of Mulladad and Keringke Arts, transformed the Ghan.

Turning a whole carriage into a travelling Parrtjima light installation, AGB Events utilised digital imagery from the 2019 Ranges Show (an inspiring and enriching experience called ‘Spirit Kultcha’), a light and sound spectacular projected onto 2km of the MacDonnell Ranges. This was projected onto a wall the entire width of the Ghan carriage measuring 2,7metres by 1.6 metres high with interior printed graphics measuring 16.7 by 17.15 metres each side, and was enriched by an epic musical composition and narration.

The 10-minute show included a welcome from AGB First Nation’s Advisor and Parrtjima Curator, Rhoda Robert AO and was narrated by Australian Actor Aaron Pederson and Benedict Kngwarraye Stevens. The lighting designer was Richard Neville and was supplied by MPH Australia and Mandylights. Musical composition and sound design was delivered by Damian Robinson and supplied by the Central Australia Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA).

AGB Events worked with technical partner Novatech based in Adelaide, South Australia who delivered the entire projection and control system including FujiFilm Z5000 HD projector and 2,7 by 1,6 metre screen covering the width of the carriage. RGB DMX controllable lighting and L-Acoustics audio system immersed viewers, set the mood and added dramatic effect. The entire system is programmed and operated using QLab control system. All audio-visual and lighting was programmed and monitored from Novatech’s Adelaide operations.

“We are always looking for new ways to expand the reach of the annual Parrtjima program,” explained Anthony Bastic CEO, AGB Events. “This year we are really excited to work with Tourism NT and the Ghan to provide a ‘taste of Parrtjima’ installation on the train.

“This is a new initiative and particularly significant given the Ghan’s importance to Central Australia. There’s also a great synergy with the artwork Crossroads by Chantelle Mulladad which we’ve utilised in this installation and also the Merging Kultcha installation at the Alice Springs Desert Park.

“In developing creative concepts like this it reminds us of the importance in connecting people. On this occasion, by involving the Ghan with Parrtjima, we’re highlighting pathways and moving forward which ties in with the ‘Future Kultcha’ theme for Parrtjima 2021. The Ghan connects people and Parrtjima connects people through light.”      

Tony Quarmby executive general manager at Tourism NT added: “This project was designed to creatively integrate the Parrtjima festival into one of our unique Northern Territory holiday experiences that delivers on the Northern Territory’s promise of being different in every sense.

“It has been a really exciting project for us to bring to life; the juxtaposition of Chantelle Mulladad’s artwork on the train with the Red Centre’s vibrant colours as the backdrop creates a stunning visual as The Ghan travels through the Territory to Alice Springs, while the immersive experience on board The Ghan gives passengers a taste of what to expect at Parrtjima – A Festival in Light.”

Mulladad’s Crossroads, is about travelling across country on a journey – which is significant and symbolic to the principles of the Ghan. It has also been utilised in the internal treatment inside the Ghan carriage, an immersive creation which guests will get to experience as it travels through the Territory.