With funding from Minderoo Foundation’s Flourishing Oceans Initiative, the show brought nearly 200 drones equipped with LED lights and choreographed through 3D animation techniques to the shores of the Ningaloo.
The Fremantle Biennale’s First Lights creates a meaningful opportunity to showcase local stories within a major contemporary art event, connecting diverse audiences to an arts experience.
Viewers at Exmouth and Coral Bay were treated to the Story of Jirndarl and Willarda, a creation story of the Baiyungu people, which reveals the mystery between the coral spawning and the great cosmic dance.
Baiyungu Traditional Owner and lead cultural knowledge holder for First Lights – Nyinggulu, Hazel Walgar, said the project represents a significant opportunity to pay tribute to Traditional stories.
“First Lights provides a platform for Traditional Owners and Aboriginal artists to come together, explore new artforms and share ancient and living stories of place that reflect our culture and identity,” she said.
Minderoo Foundation’s Flourishing Oceans Head of Marine Research and Innovation Dr Michaela Dommisse said bringing Fremantle Biennale’s First Lights to Exmouth is a perfect example of how art and science can work together to educate and inspire.
“The ocean is a vast and complex system, and through research and collaboration, we can unlock its secrets and unlock its potential for the betterment of all life on Earth,” Dr Dommisse said.
“Our Indigenous community are the first Custodians of our oceans, so it is very exciting for the Minderoo Exmouth Research Lab to showcase this story right here on the Nyinggulu coastline.
“I’m thrilled to see the First Lights show bring attention to the importance of preserving our ocean’s natural beauty and biodiversity.”
Minderoo Foundation is one of the Principal Partner of First Lights through its support of the Fremantle Biennale.
First Lights – Nyinggulu
19 April 2023 – Cardabia Station, Coral Bay
20 April 2023 – Town Beach, Exmouth
Artists: Hazel Walgar and Sonya Edney
Composer: Alice Humphries
Sound Design: Envelope Audio
Narrated by Hazel Walgar and Ilona McGuire
Animation: Jarrad Russell
Script Editor: Jennifer Kornberger
Technical Partner: Stellar Lights
Co-presented with the Baiyungu Aboriginal Corporation as part of the Jamba Nyinayi Festival and Tourism WA as a part of the Dark Sky Festival.
Supported by The State Government through the Regional Arts and Cultural Investment Program (RACIP), and the Regional Exhibition Touring Boost (RETB) administered by the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries and supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Festivals Australia program.
Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.