Lighten Up in Canberra

29 January 2015
Read Time: 2.1 mins

From 27 February to 7 March, Canberra will be celebrating all things culture. The city will light up after dark for the Enlighten Festival. Along with stunning art displays and exclusive events, this year will see a few new additions that promise to make it the best festival yet – 2015 is the International Year of Light, after all.

 Parliament House is one of six national buildings that will be lit up through the Enlighten Festival.

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Enlighten Me

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So, what is the Enlighten Festival? In its fifth year, it is perhaps most well known for its architectural projections that light up the facades of many national buildings with colourful displays, but there's much more to the festival than its beautiful lights. It is a chance for the nation's capital to put culture, creativity and food at centre stage as the community mingles across several exclusive events.

Many venues will open their doors after hours for special performances, tours, talks, shows and experiences over 10 exciting days. Ranging from live music to nightly food markets, an array of ticketed and free admission exhibits ensure something to appeal to all ages.

 Unique displays will light up the city after hours.

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Step Into The Light

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This year will see the return of the ever-popular  Electric Canvas projections that light up many national buildings around the Parliamentary triangle. From 8pm to 11pm on Friday and Saturday, and 8pm to 10pm on all other nights, the following buildings will transform into dynamic works of art:

  • Questacon
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • National Gallery of Australia
  • Old Parliament House
  • Australian Parliament House
  • National Library of Australia

Of course, there are other installations that will involve a creative use of light. This includes the Polyphonic Electronic art exhibit. This collaboration between David Kenworthy and DJ Oliver Laing will transform everyday childhood objects into colourful beacons that work with a sound-scape to intrigue and entertain.

Even Lake Burley Griffin will feature a light show. The Voyage [UK] Aether and Hermera exhibit will see 300 illuminated paper boats set out across the water. This beautiful display will also feature an interactive element as observers will be able to engage with the exhibit through a mobile phone app.

 There will be plenty of outdoor events this year, including the new Night Noodle Markets.

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Activities, Music And Food! Oh My!

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Guests are also invited to participate in an exclusive program of events across all of the national buildings. This includes an inaugural exhibition in the new NGA Contemporary, which will feature a collection of 21st Century Australian art from leading artists. Running from 5pm to 10pm, it will include intriguing displays across all media.

Families hoping to participate in this year's festivities will be pleasantly surprised by the number of activities on offer. Immerse yourself in the sounds of wild Africa at the National Zoo & Aquarium, or head to Questacon for some creative fun. This includes a shadow puppet workshop and laser tag. Don't forget to visit the Qshop cart for some flashing fairy floss.

Movies and music will play a significant role in Enlighten this year. The By the Water concert will kick off on 28 February, headlined by ARIA Award winner Katie Noonan, while Alpine will play a night show at the Electric Garden on 6 March. The Lights! Canberra! Action! film project will provide something for 'cinefiles', with new filmmakers showing their seven-minute short films created around 10 themes. Screenings will take place at 7pm, 6 March, at the Senate Rose Gardens.

As an exciting addition to this year's schedule, the Noodle Markets will make their debut in Canberra, tempting your tastebuds with a variety of authentic Asian cuisine. Accompanied by themed bars, music and lights, the Noodle Markets will commence on Friday, 27 February, at 5pm until late at the Upper Commonwealth Place.

 Lights! Canberra! Action! will take place on 6 March from 7pm.

Carlie Tucker

Travelling is for discovering the unexpected. From fantastic meals in ramshackle joints to stumbling upon a best kept secret, I love those fortuitous travel moments that couldn't be planned if I tried.