Check out our 2020/2021 Winter Series below!

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Celestial Bodies: Four Stories of the Night sky

Celestial Bodies is a multicultural creation of animated media that tell ancient astrological stories, exploring the belief systems that make up Canadian and Indigenous society’s diverse fabric

Date: February 2021 Time: 5pm-10pm Location: Rotary Centre for the Arts

The artists re-interpret the cosmological stories and oral histories from their own cultural heritages — Greek, Chinese, African, and the Indigenous’ Haudenosaunee culture, and explore the meeting of cultures in their collaborative process with community members, where unique stars signifying individuals’ heritage were made. Each story is connected to a season, and characters from the heavenly world travel through time and space as the night unfolds, highlighting diverse cultural beliefs. 

For thousands of years, the Haudenosaunee Nation tells the Big Dipper story, where three Brothers are forever hunting the Giant Bear that they chased into the sky. As the big dipper gets closer to us in autumn, the brothers can reach and strike the Bear, which explains why the leaves turn red at this time of year. The Chinese story of Weaver Woman is about eternal love. She has traveled from Heaven to Earth and back to Heaven, crossing between yin and yang, human and god. Her meeting with her lover once a year over the Milky Way reflects the Vega star’s movement in the summer sky. The Greek story highlights the mythology of human desires and emotions through Heroes and Gods. We journey through the constellations of Lyra, Pegasus, Andromeda whose stories are heavenly reflections of the human spirit. The African story ‘Why the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars live in the Sky?’ is a suspenseful journey about Owen the Sun and Uki the Moon, who are forced to flee into the sky to escape their drowning on earth.

Media Artist and UBC Okanagan faculty Aleksandra Dulic and Miles Thorogood with UBC Graduate Students Jacen Dennis, Amberley John, and Emerald Holt created a multimedia presentation of animated images. Aleksandra Dulic, Ph.D., a media artist, is an Associate Professor in Creative Studies and Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology. Miles Thorogood, Ph.D., a media artist, is an Assistant Professor, composer-performer, interaction designer, and audio producer. Aleksandra’s and Miles’ collaborative creative practice explores the use of technology to enable media performances and installations rich in aural, visual, and cultural nuances. Artist Jessica Dennis acted as lead animator and coordinator. Indigenous artist Amberley John tells and illustrates the story of the Three Brothers and Giant Bear. Lan Tung told a Chinese tale and composed music for this section. African narrative is told by storyteller Comfort Ero. Emerald Holt animated and composed sound for this story. Keith Hamel composed music for Greek Section. Frazer Sundown’s composition was used in the Haudenosaunee narrative. The animation and illustration team also included UBCO undergraduate students: Arianna Semeschuk, illustrating the Greek heroes; Dianne Schnieders, illustrating the Weaver Woman story; Cassidy Mckenzie animated and illustrated African story, Sarah Polak and Charles Landa, providing animation; with additional drawings by Taiwanese artist Li Tung.



Aleksandra Dulic, Miles Thorogood


 Kenneth Newby, Jacen Dennis, Emerald Holt, Cassidy Mckenzie, Charles Landa, Sarah Polak


Comfort Ero, Miles Thorogood, Lan Tung, Amberley John


Aleksandra Dulic, Nicola Levell and Lan Tung


Frazer Sundown (“Season Change” – Love Is a War Dance (Smoke Dance))
Lan Tung with Orchid Ensemble: Dailin Hseih & Jonathan Bernard (“Celestial Bridge” & “Celestial River” – Weaver Woman & Music of the Heavens)
Keith Hamel & Megumi Masaki (“Touch” – Music 4 Eyes & Ears)
Emerald Holt, Comfort Ero & Miles Thorogood (“Why the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, and Cloud Live in the Sky” – Celestial Bodies)

Project Management

Jacen Dennis


 Jacen Dennis, Emerald Holt


 Kenneth Newby, Jacen Dennis, Emerald Holt, Cassidy Mckenzie, Charles Landa, Sarah Polak


 Rosaleen McAfee, and April Liu