South Asian Arts Festival celebrates colourful heritage at KPU

Fri, Apr 5, 2024

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) hosted the second annual South Asian Arts Festival to share and celebrate rich South Asian cultural heritage.

Evolving from a small initiative in 2022 by the Faculty of Arts, the festival provides a multidisciplinary platform to explore South Asian traditions through music, dance and poetry.

"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,” says Dr. Asma Sayed, festival co-organizer and Canada Research Chair in South Asian Literary and Cultural Studies in KPU’s Department of English.

The event took place on April 4 at KPU Surrey. It showcased traditional performances in Kathak and Bhangra dances, dhol drumming, singing and poetry readings by KPU students and alumni.

Jobanpreet Singh's performance
Singing performance by Jobanpreet Singh.

Featured performers were students from the courses taught by Daniella Da Cunha Gramani, who leads global drumming course, and Gurpreet Sian, a festival co-organizer and instructor of introduction to Bhangra dance course at KPU.

“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,” says Sian.

For Dr. Shelley Boyd, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, the festival is a "must-see experience" where students have a chance to collaborate through the drumming and dancing they have learned over the term.

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

The South Asian Art Festival was funded by the Canada Research Chair program and the Faculty of Arts at KPU.

KPU offers a variety of courses in South Asian studies, including literature, folklore and cinema through its Asian Studies programs and the Department of Language and Cultures.