More than 100,000 visitors flocked to Kings Park for the opening of the 2017 Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF) from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 February, to experience an audio-visual feast of Noongar culture and Western Australia’s biodiversity.

The 2017 PIAF opening event 'Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak' attracted huge crowds to Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Photo: T. Wilkinson.View image slideshow

'Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak' was a breathtaking free event held over three nights during which Kings Park was magically transformed into a cathedral of light, sound and imagery.

The visually mesmerising event explored the inter-connectedness of all life, and highlighted the beauty and fragility of WA’s south-west – from bushfires and rainstorms to flocks of birds, frolicking fish, playful animals and blooming wildflowers.

This immersive walk-through experience commenced along Fraser Avenue and followed a winding 1.2 km trail through to the heart of the Western Australian Botanic Garden, culminating at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial.

Along the way, visitors saw the traditional six seasons of south-west Western Australia come to life, explored knowledge systems from Noongar and Western perspectives and heard two ‘creation’ stories.

Visitors also discovered more about our flora and fauna, including what has already been lost through extinction, via a hauntingly beautiful walk to the Western Australian Botanic Garden, lit by suspended glowing specimen jars and narrated by Noongar elders and former CEO of Kings Park, Professor Stephen Hopper.

The journey concluded in the heart of the Botanic Garden with an inspiring environmental message and stunning installation comprising more than 1,000 seedpod lanterns created by school children through the Seeds of Change project.

Directed by Nigel Jamieson, the show saw state-of-the-art technology, Aboriginal knowledge and stories, scientific research and the natural world collide for a true sensory feast!

The whole Kings Park team was thrilled to partner with PIAF on this innovative event. It was a wonderful opportunity that artistically reflected the key environmental and conservation messages that Kings Park is a very special place for a multitude of cultural and environmental reasons; the urgent need for conservation of the WA environment, and; inspirational hope and opportunities for individual action for the future.

Missed the event? Take a look at the image slideshow above, check out our social stream and hear from Nigel Jamieson on You Tube.

Crowds entered at the corner of Kings Park Road and Fraser Avenue. Photo: J. Thomas. A visual feast of light and colour entranced the audience. Photo: J. Thomas. Underwater scenes were projected onto the majestic Lemon-scented Gums along Fraser Avenue. Photo: J. Thomas. Visitors heard stories of extinction via a hauntingly beautiful walk to the Western Australian Botanic Garden. Photo: J. Mansell-Fletcher. Flames danced among the branches as onlookers watched the projected bush fire grow on Fraser Avenue. Photo: R. Barrett. As the projected fire died down, crowds were delighted as giant numbats emerged from between the high trees. Photo: T. Wilkinson. Images of facial features made the trees appear to speak to crowds awash a myriad of colour. Photo: J. Wyld. Stories were told of Western Australia's past as crowds stood in the shadows. Photo: J. Mansell-Fletcher. The inter-connectedness of life was celebrated in this free community event. Photo: J. Mansell-Fletcher. Moving along the Long Vista, the crowds heard memories from Nyoongar elders. Photo: R. Barrett.  The Long Vista was lit by suspended, glowing jars containing rare and endangered specimens.  Photo: J. Thomas. The Seeds of Change exhibit was a powerful vision with thousands of seedpods created by school children. Photo: T. Wilkinson. An inspiring video projected onto a giant seed pod concluded the event with a call to environmental action. Photo: J. Mansell-Fletcher. The West Australian Botanic Garden was the perfect setting for families to take in the extraordinary experience that was ‘Boorna Waanginy’. Photo: R. Barrett.

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