Last December, Pancouver published an article about Gurpreet Sian. The Vancouver resident is best known across the country as a broadcaster with Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi. But that’s not his only gig. He also founded the South Asian Arts Society, which puts on the annual Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts.
In addition, the former resident of Clearwater, B.C. teaches bhangra dance at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Simon Fraser University. In this capacity—as an educator—Sian co-organized KPU’s first South Asian Arts Festival at its Surrey campus on March 23.
The event lasted two hours in the Cedar Conference Centre, featuring dance, drums, poetry, and spoken-word performances.
The other co-convener was Asma Sayed, the Canada Research Chair in South Asian Literary and Cultural Studies in Kwantlen’s English department.
According to Sayed’s bio, her research and activism addresses “the marginalization of gendered and racialized people and violence against women as represented in literature, film, and media”.
“This is an incredibly meaningful way for students and the entire university community to come together to celebrate South Asian arts,” Sayed said in a KPU news release. “We hope to make this an annual event and grow the festival’s presence at KPU to showcase and celebrate a vibrant culture many KPU students share.”
Several KPU sources funded South Asian Arts Festival
The festival followed an event last year at KPU’s Langley campus in which artist-in-residence and dhol player Des Raj offered guidance to students performing bhangra and dhol.
This semester, Sian is also teaching global drumming and cultural expression in addition to bhangra.
“Introduction to bhangra offers KPU students a unique opportunity to learn this energetic and lively dance form,” Sian said. “The South Asian Arts Festival allows students to demonstrate their creative talents and learn through performance.”
Funding was provided by the President’s Diversity and Equity Committee at KPU, Faculty of Arts, Office of the Provost, and the Canada Research Chair Program.
Below, see some other KPU photos from the event.