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24 February 2014 / leggypeggy

Enlighten—a chance to see Canberra in a whole new light

Australian National Gallery

A Toulouse Lautrec image on the National Gallery

Get out your comfy shoes and get ready to see Canberra in a whole new light.

The annual Enlighten event starts Friday, 28 February, in the Parliamentary Triangle. If you aren’t living in Australia’s national capital, this might not make sense to you, but if you are here or nearby, this year’s program is looking fantastic.


Questacon—Science and Technology Centre



It all kicks off with one of my favourite sights. It’s stunning to see six iconic buildings—Parliament House, Old Parliament House, the National Gallery, the National Library, Questacon and the National Portrait Gallery—become architectural canvasses.

Each will have an enormous and ever-changing lightshow splashed on its exterior. There will be animation, interactive finger painting, images from the Gold and the Incas: Lost Worlds of Peru exhibition at the National Gallery, and contemporary artworks.

The free lightshows run from 8pm to midnight for two weekends—this Saturday and Sunday and the next.

And I mentioned the comfy shoes. Believe me, it’s easy—in fact recommended—to walk from display to display because they are close to one another. Parking will be chaotic, so park and walk.

But festivities aren’t limited to lightshows. There is plenty of other outdoor entertainment—some free and some with admission.

Poor John and I are having a terrible time trying to figure out how we’ll fit everything in. Luckily a program arrived as an insert in our newspaper, so we can spend hours trying to puzzle together a plan. You’ll have to check out the details online.

Australian National Library

Australian National Library

Look for these. A fire garden at the High Court and a herd of 12-foot-tall puppets—horses to be precise—in John Dunmore Lang Place. Or check out the local and interstate bands, and book a ticket to one of the many performances.

And then there’s Priscilla. The lighthearted, colour-splashed and hilarious movie, The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, turns 20 this year. There will be a special showing this Friday at the National Film and Sound Archive. Tickets are $40 and include an outdoor showing, a talk about the costumes by the designer and complimentary drink on arrival. If you haven’t seen the movie and you can’t be there, hire it this weekend and join in the laughs. Here’s some background about the movie and costumes (the designers won the Oscar).

Note: The pictures here are from Enlighten 2013. Links to some of 2012’s offerings are here.


Leave a Comment
  1. Sy S. / Feb 25 2014 1:27 am


    What a spectacular light show displayed on the various buildings in Canberra! All colorful and interesting…
    and no GRAFFITI PAINT to be concerned about. The show should be one of the 10 best sights to see in Oz and on par with the magnificent Taj Mahal (well almost).

    Further, here in NYC (Borough of Queens) there is a famous graffiti building, which will be torn down and another building built. Some think it was an eye sore and others a great location to showcase graffiti artists from around the world. Here is the URL; Five Pointz

    Enjoy Canberra’s Enlighten events!

    Sy S.


    • leggypeggy / Feb 25 2014 8:20 am

      I’ll post photos of this year’s Enlighten, but have to admit it’s not quite on par with the Taj. 🙂
      Pity about the graffiti building. I don’t mind graffiti when it’s done as art and on buildings that are willing to have it. I hate seeing tags scribbled all over the place.


  2. kayakcameraman / Feb 25 2014 6:39 am

    Reblogged this on kayakcameraman and commented:
    Excellent post by Leggy Peggy.I hope you get the chance to see ‘Enlighten’ its fantastic.


  3. Lady Pinkrose / Feb 26 2014 5:51 am

    Awesome shots, Leggy Peggy. Love your perspective! xxoo, Amy


    • leggypeggy / Feb 26 2014 7:17 am

      Thanks so much. Can’t wait to see this year’s version.


      • Lady Pinkrose / Feb 26 2014 7:20 am

        The adventurous side in us is always striving to do better and different. That is what makes like so exciting. (GRIN!) Love the spoon on your forehead, by the way. I laughed when I saw your pic. Too funny!!!!


      • leggypeggy / Feb 26 2014 7:22 am

        Ah, the famous spoon trick. I can show you how to do it. 🙂


      • Lady Pinkrose / Feb 26 2014 7:54 am

        Let me dig deep in my memory bank. Do you lick the spoon before you stick it on your forehead? Seems as if one of my comedian brothers did this. Now I am really thinking a LONG time ago. LOL


      • leggypeggy / Feb 26 2014 11:10 am

        I just rub it across my forehead a couple of times before positioning it, and then it seems to stick for a while.


      • Lady Pinkrose / Feb 26 2014 11:23 am

        LOL I knew there was moisture involved. Good one!!! LOL


      • leggypeggy / Feb 26 2014 11:48 am

        The moisture would be the glass of wine you having before trying this at home. 🙂


  4. David / Feb 26 2014 9:57 am

    Very nice, Peggy! Quite wonderful! Love it all!

    Denver has many light shows, our City & County Building lit up for the holidays is the most famous of them however the same building used for a multimedia light show for the 4th of July Eve Show and Picnic is fantastic sight with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop just as the sun is setting.

    Thank you for sharing and keep it up! I love it!


    • leggypeggy / Feb 26 2014 11:08 am

      I’ll have to try to get to Denver when a light show is on. Sounds wonderful.


  5. lmo58 / Feb 28 2014 9:58 am

    Hi Peggy,
    Thanks for reminding us about this. I’m going to see if I can find a halfway point to park given that I still have difficulty walking an distance. But I hope to see, and photograph, at least some of them. Your photos from previous Enlightens look great. Thank you.


    • leggypeggy / Mar 6 2014 1:59 pm

      Hope you get there Louise. It’s really worth seeing. We parked beneath the gallery.


  6. Kenny2dogs / Mar 6 2014 9:52 am

    Some of those graffiti pictures are excellent. Better than looking at boring concrete !!!
    “Kenny was here” 🙂


    • leggypeggy / Mar 6 2014 2:00 pm

      You remind me that I should take some pics of Canberra’s graffiti. Stay tuned.


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