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KPU festival celebrates South Asian community

Kwantlen Polytechnic University hosted second annual South Asian Festival

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) hosted the second annual South Asian Arts Festival Thursday (April. 4).

Students and faculty enjoyed South Asian traditions through poetry readings, dhol drumming, traditional performances in Kathak, Bhangra dances and musical performances, said Asma Sayed, PhD, festival co-organizer and Canada Research Chair in South Asian Literary and Cultural Studies in KPU’s Department of English.

All of the performers were KPU students from the music and language culture studies programs, Sayed said.

“This is our way of celebrating our community here in Surrey,” Sayed said. “Many of our students identify as South Asian, and the KPU Surrey campus is in close proximity of the large South Asian community. This festival speaks to them very personally and allows them to be represented and their culture respected and recognized,” Sayed said.

Gurpreet Sian, the festival co-organizer and instructor at KPU, said the festival happens to coincide with Sikh Heritage Month.

The initiative started as a small art residency in 2022 before transforming into a festival in 2023.

On Thursday, Sian joined 14 dhol drummers and students from his Bhangra class for a collaborative and powerful performance.

“It’s great to see the students get together,” Sian said. “Students don’t always have a creative outlet or a way to socialize with other students. It’s important to provide such opportunities for them right on campus.”

“Students don’t always have a creative outlet or a way to socialize with other students. It’s important to provide such opportunities for them right on campus,” Sian said.

The festival was a “must-see,” said Shelley Boyd, PhD, KPU dean of the faculty of arts, in a KPU media release.

“The festival creates transformative learning opportunities for the KPU community and beyond,” Boyd said. “It brings together students and faculty from multiple disciplines, particularly the departments of English, Music, Language and Cultures, and Creative Writing.”



Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I started with Black Press Media in the fall of 2022 as a multimedia journalist after finishing my practicum at the Surrey Now-Leader.
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