When Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria was first published in 2007, it ignited conversation, imagination, and presented an ambitious, beautiful and epic literary achievement. 

The novel shares the interconnected stories of several inhabitants of the fictional town of Desperance, situated in the Gulf of Carpentaria. There, the Aboriginal people of the Pricklebush clan are engaged in a number of combative disputes with various enemies in the community, including the white inhabitants of Desperance, the local law enforcement, and government officials. Among these characters are Angel Day, who lives on the outskirts of Desperance.

​“She thought the dump was magnificent, as anyone dirt poor would. The way she talked you would have thought she was a very rich woman, and it was nothing for her to walk back and forth to the dump two dozen times a day to cart back pieces of sheet iron, jerry cans, bits of car bodies, pieces of rope, logs, plastic, discarded curtain and old clothing … until she ended up with an igloo made of rubbish.” Alexis Wright, 'Carpentaria'

In celebration of Carpentaria, a collaboration between Alexis’ words and artist Gordon Hookey have come together to create Angel’s Palace, an immersive artwork, which debuted at the Brisbane Writers Festival in 2017. The stunning creation was built on the Maiwar Green, and inside a series of events, including performances and author talks, took place.

The Design

Angel’s Palace, in a large dome shape will stand at 7.5m tall and 15 m in diameter. The shape reflects traditional Aboriginal architecture, especially that of traditional ‘humpies’.  Using Alexis’ words as inspiration, Gordon has created a visual design which will be transferred onto a canvas and encompass the entire outside of the artwork. Initially designed on a small model of Angel’s Palace, pictured below, Gordon’s work will be reprinted on a massive scale, to cover the 300 square meter canopy. 

Inside Angel's Palace

Entering inside Angel’s Palace, audiences will experience an evocative digital landscape, transporting them across time and place to Alexis’ mystical world.

Video designer Ken Weston, sound designer Guy Webster, and Lighting Designer Ben Hughes have collaborated with the teams at Iceworks Design and Reverse Garbage in an unforgettable immersive venture, with Brisbane Design Company DWDC Designs, creating a beautiful site design.

Alethea Beetson, Artistic Director of Digi Youth Arts, has collaborated with her creative team of performers to create a two performances. One to inspire the imaginations of young minds aged 3-8, and one for older audiences. 

Bring Angel's Palace to your hometown

Angel's Palace is available for touring and co-presentation. To find out more, or to request an information pack, email info@uplit.com.au.

Angel’s Palace, presented by UPLIT, first premiered at Brisbane Writers Festival 2017.  Angel’s Palace is inspired by the book ‘Carpentaria’ by Alexis Wright (2006, Giramondo Publishing) and features an original artwork by Gordon Hookey.  The Angel’s Palace experience has been made possible through the generous support of the Taylor family. UPLIT has received financial assistance from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland’s Backing Indigenous Arts initiative.