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Indigenous Artist and Writer-in-Residence

Spring 2023

Faculty of Arts welcomes Brandi Bird, Indigenous Writer-in-Residence and Brandon Gabriel, Indigenous Artist-in-Residence to KPU for the Spring semester. They join Molly Cross Blanchard, Indigenous Writer-in-Residence and Á’a:líya Warbus, Indigenous Artist-in-Residence who have been extended for another semester. They will continue their work with consultations, in-class visits, events, and more student, faculty, and staff engagement. If you would like to schedule an online consultation or invite them to attend a class or event, please email  

Press Release

Indigenous Artist-in-Residence

Brandon Gabriel 

BGBorn and raised on the Kwantlen First Nation Reserve in Fort Langley BC, Canada. He was educated in Cultural Anthropology, Visual Art, and Marketing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, then received his Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Art from the prestigious Emily Carr University of Fine Art and Design (2006).

Brandon is a multi-talented contemporary mixed media artist who specializes in painting, drawing, graphic design, architectural design concepts, and public art installations. His work has been exhibited in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, USA, and across Canada, specializing in Architectural Conceptual Design; Public Art Installations; Graphic Design; Painting; Drawing; Consulting; Education Modules for all ages and institutional settings.

Á'a:líya Warbus

AWarbusÁ'a:líya is Stó:lō with roots in the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sema: th, Sq’éwlets and Sts’ailes First Nations. She has worked in the unceded territories of the Coast Salish as an artist and activist for the past 18 years.  She is currently focused on writing, directing and being a mom to her three young children.

Á’a:líya’s narrative short fiction and short documentaries explore themes of Indigenous culture, Indigenous matriarchs, and the effects of colonization on her family and community.  Her stories are a mix of both modern and traditional themes driven by her experience growing up in both worlds simultaneously.


Indigenous Writer-in-Residence

Brandi Bird 

BBBrandi Bird is an Indigiqueer Saulteaux, Cree and Métis writer from Treaty 1 territory. They currently live and learn on the land of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh & Musqueam peoples. Their work has been published in The Puritan, Poetry is Dead, Room Magazine, Brick Magazine, Prism International and others. Their first book, "The All + Flesh", is being released with House of Anansi Press in Fall 2023. They enjoy listening to the same song over and over again and love their three cats, Babydoll, Burt, and Etta.


Molly Cross-Blanchard 

MCBMolly is a white and Métis writer, editor, and educator born on Treaty 3 (Fort Frances, ON), raised on Treaty 6 (Prince Albert, SK), and currently living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, colonially known as Vancouver.She is the former poetry editor of PRISM international and the former publisher of Room. Her work has appeared in many journals including CV2, The Malahat Review, SubTerrain, The Puritan, Grain, Quill & Quire, Asparagus, and The Tyee.

Molly’s poetry chapbook is I Don’t Want to Tell You (Rahila’s Ghost Press, 2018) and her debut full-length book of poetry is Exhibitionist (Coach House Books, 2021), which was shortlisted for the ReLit Award for Poetry. Her poem “First Contact: Métis” was shortlisted for a 2022 National Magazine.



Shut up and Write with Molly Cross-Blanchard 

An invitation to bring your homework, poetry, screenplay, sketch book, or fan fic and write together with Indigenous Writer-in-Residence, Molly Cross-Blanchard and other folks who need a bit of community and motivation. Casual drop-ins are welcome, and people from all backgrounds and positions within the university are encouraged to join! 

KPU Surrey, Main 166 - Indigenous Gathering Place

12pm - 2pm 

  • Thursday, January 19
  • Thursday, February 2
  • Thursday, March 16
  • Thursday, March 30

Drum Making with Brandon Gabriel  

Indigenous Artist-in-Residence, Brandon Gabriel will be drum making on campus during his informal studio time. If you are interested in a drop-in visit, would like to participate, or just have a quick chat, email in advance to schedule a time.

Every Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning February 1, 2023 leading up to his Artist Talk: Artist Talk with Brandon Gabriel: A Visual Chronicle, March 29, 2023. 

Sentence-a-Day with Brandi Bird and Molly Cross-Blanchard 

Feel like you don’t have time to be creative? Take a minute to write a sentence a day during the week of February 27 - March 2 with Indigenous Writers-in-Residence Brandi Bird and Molly Cross-Blanchard. We will have different prompts every day and prizes for participation!   

KPU Surrey, Spruce Atrium & Arbutus library - χʷəχʷéy̓əm Indigenous Collection 

  • Monday, February 27, 1:00pm - 3:00pm  
  • Tuesday, February 28, 2:00pm - 4:00pm   Cancelled 
  • Wednesday, March 1, 12:00pm - 2:00pm 
  • Thursday, March 2, 10:00am - 12:00pm 

Poetry Workshops with Brandi Bird and Molly Cross-Blanchard 

Writing About The Self

Join Indigenous Writer-in-Residence, Brandi Bird, in a poetry workshop called Writing About The Self. We will use our memories to create poems that sharpen our poetic voices and delve into our own stories. Open to KPU students of all skill levels, whether you have written poetry or not!  

Tuesday, March 7, 2023 

12:00pm - 1:00pm 

KPU Surrey

Please RSVP at

There will be a maximum of 10 seats available for the workshop.  

Poetic Letters: The Power of Epistolary Writing  Cancelled

Join Indigenous Writer-in-Residence, Molly Cross-Blanchard, in a poetry workshop called Poetic Letters: The Power of Epistolary Writing. We will use external addressees to create poems that get us as close to truth as possible. Open to KPU staff and faculty of all departments and skill levels, whether you have written poetry or not! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023 

12:00pm - 1:00pm, KPU Surrey


Words and Whistles - Open Mic with Molly Cross-Blanchard 

Calling all KPU creatives! Join Indigenous writer-in-residence Molly Cross-Blanchard for an evening of sharing our talents with each other. Read your poems or stories, sing a song, play an instrument, tell some jokes, or bring some other whacky talent to the stage.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 

KPU Surrey, Grassroots Cafe (Cedar Building) 

4:00pm -5:30pm 

To register, email with your name, a 1-sentence bio, and what you’ll be performing by Sunday March 5, 2023 to reserve your 5-minute slot. And if you don’t feel like sharing, come out anyway and support your pals!

Note: the time limit will be strict, and there will be no hate speech tolerated. Let’s create a safe and fun space to share our art!


End of Semester Celebration 

Wrap up the term with a celebration of Indigenous excellence in the arts!

Join us for lunch, special performances, Artist talk with Brandon Gabriel, and showcase by the Indigenous Artists-in-Residence, Á'a:líya Warbus and Brandon Gabriel, and Indigenous Writers-in-Residence Brandi Bird and Molly Cross-Blanchard. All students, faculty, staff, and guests are welcome to attend. 

Artist Talk with Brandon Gabriel: A Visual Chronicle

Indigenous Artist-In-Residence, and Kwantlen First Nation Artist Brandon Gabriel discusses and shows selected works that span nearly three decades of works. Which, include paintings, graphic design, mixed media sculpture, and wood carving. Brandon will discuss growing up in the Kwantlen First Nation community in Langley, his time as a KPU student, and his career as an artist, right to the IAIR mural project in collaboration with KDocs Film Festival, and Oakland-based artists Pancho Pescador and Desi Mundo. Q&A session will follow the presentation. 

March 22, 2023 

12:00pm - 3:00pm 

KPU Surrey, Conference Centre 

RSVP now


Exhibition: These Drums Will Not Be Played For You Today  

Brandon Gabriel will have his drums available for viewing at the Surrey, Spruce Gallery at the end of April 

Catch them at other events on campus! 

Wake Up - Social Justice Music Festival 

To create awareness and hype for Faculty of Arts new Music Minor at KPU, this festival will showcase both local music artists in Surrey and emerging music artists at KPU.  Explore and celebrate social justice with music artists from the local South Asian, Black, Indigenous, and Queer communities. Indigenous Artist-in-Residence, Á'a:líya Warbus is one of the featured artist. 

February 23, 2023

Surrey, Spruce Atrium 

Doors Open at 6:00pm 

Full event schedule and details at Wake up Music Festival  

Creative Arts Day

As part of Declaration month in the Faculty of Arts, a few of our creative departments (Fine Arts, Creative writing, and Entertainment Arts) have teamed up to bring you a showcase of student work, an opportunity to meet the faculty, and a place for you to meet your peers. The KPU Fine Arts Collective, Creative Writing Guild, Indigenous Artists and Writers-in-Residence, Arts degree Advisors, and Opus Art Supplies will be on site. Come for some interactive activities, a student gallery, light refreshments, and prizes!  

February 27, 2023


KPU Surrey, Spruce Atrium  

KDocsFF 2023: People.Places.Power.

During the KDocs Film Festival, Indigenous Artist-in-Residence, Brandon Gabriel will appear as part of a special Return Engagement of the film Alice Street (accompanied by the short doc Jean Swanson: We Need a New Map) for the Closing Night event on February 26, 2023.

For more information and tickets, visit the official KDocsFF website.


From February 15-17 and  22 - 24, 2022, the Arbutus Library space will begin its transformation into a mural representing KPU’s Indigenous history, cultural diversity, inclusivity, and unity as a community. The mural will be completed in the Fir Lounge by the creative trio of painters that include Indigenous Artist-in-Residence, Brandon Gabriel,  Chilean studio painter/Oakland artist Pancho Pescador, and Chicago-born aerosol artist Desi Mundo. LIVE Painting of the KDocsFF Alice Street Mural — KDocsFF

Slhá:lí/Woman: Film Presentation and Discussion with Á'a:líya Warbus and Saylesh Wesley

Join the KPU Pride Advocacy Group's celebration of Trans Day of Visibility (a few days early) as we welcome KPU Indigenous Artist-in Residence Á'a:líya Warbus (Stó:lō) and Knowledge Keeper and Elder-in-Training Saylesh Wesley (Coast Salish and Tsimshian) to KPU for a special event.

Monday, March 20, 2023, 1:15pm - 3:00pm 

KPU Surrey, Gathering Place (Main 166)

RSVP: Slhá:lí/Woman: Film Presentation and Discussion with Á'a:líya Warbus and Saylesh Wesley ( 


Drop-in Consultations 

In person one-on-one consultation sessions are available with the Indigenous Artists and Writers-in-Residence at the Indigenous Gathering Place, KPU Surrey, Main 166.

Please register for a timeslot in advance here

January 2023
February 2023
March 2023

Friday, January 27

Brandon: 1pm -3pm 


























Wednesday, February 1

Brandi: 11am - 1pm 


Thursday, February 2

Á'a:líya: 2pm - 4pm 

Friday, February 3

Brandon: 1pm -3pm 

Wednesday, February 8

Brandi: 10am - 12pm 

Thursday, February 9

Molly: 12pm - 2pm 

Á'a:líya: 2pm - 4pm

Friday, February 10 

Brandon: 1pm -3pm 














Wednesday, March 1

Brandi: 10am - 12pm

Thursday, March 2

Molly: 12pm-2pm

Á'a:líya: 2pm - 4pm

Friday, March 3

Brandon: 1pm -3pm 

Wednesday, March 8

Brandi & Molly: 10am - 12pm 

Thursday, March 9 

Á'a:líya: 2pm - 4pm

Friday, March 10

Brandon: 1pm -3pm 

Wednesday, March 15

Brandi: 10am - 12pm 

Thursday, March 16

Á'a:líya: 2pm - 4pm

Friday, March 17

Brandon: 1pm -3pm 

Thursday, March 23

Á'a:líya: 2pm - 4pm

Friday, March 24

Brandon: 1pm -3pm 

Wednesday, March 29 

Brandi: 10am - 12pm 



Fall 2022 

Press Release