The past 12 months have been brutal for people around the world, but the Enlighten Festival will bring some light to Canberrans over the coming weeks.
As the first major event to go ahead in Canberra since the onset of COVID-19, the festival's executive producer Vickii Cotter said she was confident the event would bring some joy to locals.
"There is that undercurrent theme of hope that we are trying to bring out throughout the festival, which is something that people really need in this time," Ms Cotter said this week, as lighting artists prepared to begin bringing the festival's famous building projections to life.
Celebrating its 11th year, the festival will start on Friday night with the launch of Enlighten Illuminations, and will include an array of events and installations which will be ticketed this year to encourage COVID safety.
The National Library, National Gallery, Parliament House and the Sydney and Melbourne buildings are some of the landmarks that will be lit up from Friday evening.
The illuminations will take inspiration from each building's exhibitions and collections, and are designed in collaboration with the projection artists Electric Canvas.
Managing director Peter Milne has been overseeing the projections since the event's conception, and his team have just been awarded the contract for the next few years.
Artist Joan Ross' piece Collectors Paradise will take up residence on the National Gallery walls as part of an immersive projection accompanied by sound for the first time. Braidwood-based Bohie Palecek, the artist behind the Narrabundah playing fields mural, has created Dandelion, a piece focused on the "concept of care" that will be projected in Civic.
Enlighten Illumination will feature more than just the building projections, with a range of installations across the city, including a piece by local artist Geoff Filmer.
"He [Geoff] has created some beautiful fish for the Reflection Pond that he actually worked on with his mum, which was really special for him to be able to do," Ms Cotter said.
Among other art installations will be stepping stones that light up with each step and lovebirds suspended in the air, making the event a "photographers' paradise", she said.
"The main change is that visitors will be required to register for a ticket to events and to the food options. Weekends are booking up fast but we are operational during the week as well."
While the much-loved Night Noodle Markets are not a part of this year's celebrations, there will be other options for food and drinks along the illuminations trail.
"There are two key areas, Bentspoke Beer Garden and Enlighten Alley, where visitors can register for a two-and-a-half-hour session, giving them time to enjoy local food and drink, live music and the ambience of the spaces," Ms Cotter said. "We also have an activation in the city called 'late night treats' where each operator has a different menu so you can go to each one and enjoy."
- The Enlighten Festival will run from February 26 to March 14.
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