Project by : Mewael Welearegay (SFU -SIAT)

Project Title

"Qirsi": Reimagining Tigrayan Heritage in an Afrofuturist Interactive Virtual Reality World

"Qirsi" or "ቅርሲ" in Tigrinya translates to the English word "heritage." This project, named after this profound concept, seeks to innovatively preserve and celebrate the rich Tigrayan heritage through a unique lens of technology and artistry. It merges the ancient traditions and artifacts of the Tigray people with the imaginative and boundless possibilities of spatial computing, creating immersive virtual experiences. In this world, users can explore and interact with reimagined Tigrayan cultural elements, historical sites, traditional and religious musical instruments, traditional ceremonies, as well as everyday experiences.

Qirsi is a deeply personal project created to reconnect with my roots and to defy the harsh reality of the Tigray War (2020-2022) in Ethiopia. As someone from the Tigray province, I witnessed from afar the devastating conflict that claimed 600,000 to 800,000 lives and resulted in what has been reported as a genocide (UN, 2024), with many historical sites and artifacts destroyed or damaged. For two years, I was unable to contact my family due to a complete communication blackout. When the war ended, I was heartbroken by the destruction and loss of lives, including many of my family members and close friends.

Driven by the desire to preserve the Tigray I grew up in, knew, and loved, I created Qirsi. This project aims to virtually recreate the rich cultural heritage and history of Tigray that was taken away. Through this endeavor, I have transformed my feelings of loss and despair into a sense of empowerment. Qirsi is not just a tribute to my heritage but also a testament to resilience and the power of memory and culture in shaping our reality, demonstrating how spatial computing can serve as a crucial tool in reimagining one's own unfavorable reality.

MY QIRSI Final Video.mp4

Qirsi is hosted on two platforms: Mozilla Hubs and Meta Horizon Worlds.

Mozilla Hubs provides cross-platform accessibility, allowing users to engage with the project via desktop, mobile, and VR headsets. This platform features an open-air environment named "Little Tigray," showcasing the detailed 3D models in a spatial experience. 

Qirsi Promo Video4.mp4

Meta Horizon Worlds offers a more interactive experience, including traditional coffee ceremonies, musical instruments, and cultural rituals, all enhanced with spatial sounds, special effects, animations, and quests​ 

Qirsi Promo Video-2.mp4