Everyone in Sydney knows about the festival of lights that happens every winter – and if you don’t, once you see the way the Opera House and Harbour Bridge are lit up every night you will never forget Vivid. This year’s exhibitions were bigger, brighter, and more beautiful than the years before, with Aboriginal song lines shown on the opera house, a cathedral of light, and much more!
A few members of Inspired HQ were lucky enough to go to Taronga Zoo for their inaugural participation in the Vivid festival, an illuminated trail between the animal enclosures called “Be the Light for the Wild”. Taronga Conservation Society Australia showcased the 10 species that they have dedicated themselves to protecting for their centenary: five native Australian animals, like the Platypus and the Bilby, and five that are on the brink of extinction in Sumatra – a biodiversity hotspot of critical natural importance right on Australia’s doorstep.
The amazing multimedia light sculptures of animals ranged from the Sumatran Tiger to the brightly coloured Corroboree frog, and were supported by a cast of characters that included the echidna, crocodile, bush turkey, and even interactive Cicadas that lit up and sang when you cooee. At points along the trail, you could look up and see hundreds of paper lanterns that had been created by NSW school children. They were painted with the faces of frogs, tigers, elephants, and gorillas, and lit the way from exhibit to exhibit.
In case you were wondering what the animals thought of all this, a Taronga representative said that the animals had been slowly exposed to music, lights, and more activity every night for weeks to ensure that they would be comfortable during the Vivid festival. A few animals came out to say hi along the way, though most preferred to stay inside their night enclosures. Giraffes were seen placidly chomping on their feed, high above the heads of the crowd, and small Sumatran elephants meandered around their enclosure near the Sumatran Tiger statue.
But Vivid isn’t just about all the pretty light shows, it’s an opportunity to see the best of the best in music (Hyatus Kaiyote anyone?!), international speakers (Jenji Kohan, creator of hit Netflix series Orange Is The New Black!), creative workshops like the crafty etsy workshop, and great ideas.
Charities are usually among those who have the best and most forward thinking ideas, and this year they did not disappoint. Amnesty International hosted a workshop called “Art is Our Artillery to Defend Human Rights”, highlighting the difficulty that I think we’re all having in this digital age: how to stand out among the crowd, especially with a challenging idea.
Amnesty International Australia’ Indigenous Rights campaigner, Roxanne Moore, discussed creative strategies showcasing new ideas on how to communicate difficult issues for public action. Roxanne highlighted the potential opportunities we have to show the creativity and power of Indigenous people, using various mediums to communicate their rights, passions and abilities.
beyondblue took this opportunity to set one of their awareness events, The Culture Blue Day, to the background of this festival of lights. With four exclusive Vivid LIVE performances on rotation and in clear view throughout the evening, the beauty of the festival was incorporated organically into the evening’s program of entertainment acts, silent auctions, raffles, games, and a photo booth!
Culture Blue Day is an initiative in support of beyondblue that generates awareness and seeks to reduce the stigma that can sometimes accompany issues of mental illness. This event provided a forum for open discussion of the issue, and a channel through which interested parties could donate funds and make a real difference to the lives of people affected by depression, anxiety and suicide.
These amazing charities have all found creative ways to reach out to community by taking part in a staple of the Sydney winter event calendar, Vivid festival. There’s no doubt that they are innovative and forward thinking in their approaches, and it’s all for a good cause!
Check out all the amazing charities you can support on the adventure-of-a-lifetime by visiting our calendar.
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