Born in Zimbabwe of Chinese parents, Laiwan immigrated to Canada in 1977 to leave the war in Rhodesia. She is an artist, writer and educator who uses poetics, improvisation and philosophy to work across disciplines. She is interested in things ephemeral, sublime, delicious, relational, and spacious.
Laiwan's work ranges from small, near-invisible gestures for viral dissemination, to large multimedia installations such as Quartet for the Year 4698 or 5760 (2000) and Duet: Étude for Solitudes (2006), both exploring qualities of improvisation with clarinet virtuoso Lori Freedman. Laiwan's current investigations are live improvisational performative work, viral poetics, cacophonous musicality, and empoweringly tenuous subtleties aimed to rebel against stereotypes and fixed expectations.
Recently, the Vancouver Art Gallery included her work in two group exhibitions How Soon is Now (2009) and Everything, Everyday (2010). Laiwan was honoured with the 2008 Vancouver Queer Media Artist Award by Out on Screen. She continues to exhibit in various group and solo shows; to curate programs in Canada, the US and Zimbabwe; to publish work in numerous journals and anthologies; and to be active in feminist, queer and 'of-colour' community organizing.
She participates in panel discussions, gives solo readings and lectures, and teaches in the MFA Interdisciplinary Arts Program, Goddard College, Port Townsend, WA, is chair of the Goddard Faculty Council, and is based in Vancouver, Canada.
by . YYZine, Spring 2006.
by . Poolside, 2002.
by and . Digital Identity, 2000. Surrey: Surrey Art Gallery, 2000.
by . Unspecified Source, Oct. 14 Fall, 1999.
by . Fuse, Aug. 1997, v. 20, no. 4.