Christa Rebman paints a sculpture by Kate Tupper called Heavenly Bodies. Tupper, a Nakusp welder, is one of two dozen artists showcasing work as part of the first Luna Nocturnal Art and Wonder festival, which opens in Revelstoke on Sat. Sept. 30, 2017. (Marissa Tiel/Revelstoke Review)

Spaceship sculpture lands in Revelstoke

Heavenly Bodies is one of 27 installations at the Luna Arts Festival, opening Saturday night

Kate Tupper started dreaming about building a spaceship four years ago.

This weekend, the Nakusp welder will unveil her creation, Heavenly Bodies, at Luna Arts Festival in Revelstoke.

The sculpture, standing 16 feet tall was assembled at the corner of MacKenzie Avenue and Third Street Thursday.

It was the first time Tupper had seen the sculpture put together and in the sunlight.

“I just love public art,” she said. “We’re putting this up on the corner here and people are coming by and talking and they’re excited and they’re not paying attention to their driving.”

Tupper and a band of friends arrived in Revelstoke Thursday afternoon, following a sailing on the M.V. Columbia, a ferry that Tupper helped build and on which her sculpture, Looking Aft, is displayed.

The steampunk-looking rocket ship, Heavenly Bodies, was created with support from a B.C. Arts Council grant.

Tupper said she was inspired by remarks from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who she remembered saying that if politicians could go to space, they’d see what a fragile situation the planet was in.

“Then I thought, well maybe all the humans should go to space,” she said. “So this is what we have here.”

Tupper used her knowledge from welding functional structures to set up the base of Heavenly Bodies. The metal sheets were all painted at the 11th hour in Tupper’s Nakusp studio and a friend continued to put finishing touches on it as they assembled the sculpture Thursday.

There are two narrow doorways to get to the inside of the sculpture where two benches await festival-goers. Tupper estimates at least 12 people could be in the sculpture at a time.

“I’m hoping this space makes people connect with each other because there’s lots of room in here to make new friends and the way that I built the doorways, I feel like it’s kind of intimate because when you’re going through you have to turn sideways like this and I think that will spark eye-contact,” she said. “I think that will be fun.”

The piece is broken up by colourful windows, which Tupper created herself out of resin.

She was also inspired by a photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

“They took a spot in the sky that was the size of a pencil and they took a picture and there was 10-11,000 galaxies just in that,” she said. “The colours were inspiring, but also the idea of how it, from far away, just looks like a bunch of specks, but really those are huge. So just putting things into perspective.

“Sometimes we feels really big, sometimes we feel really small.”

The piece can be seen, alongside 26 other installations in downtown Revelstoke on opening night of the Luna Arts Festival, Sat. Sept. 30 from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Luna Art Festival

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Kate Tupper says “sometimes we feel really big, sometimes we feel really small.” She hopes her piece, Heavenly Bodies, will offer a new perspective for people who experience it. (Marissa Tiel/Revelstoke Review)

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