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  • Laiwan

    Artist
    LAIWAN (b. 1961) is a cultural activist, interdisciplinary artist, writer and educator with a wide-ranging practice based in poetics and philosophy. Born in Zimbabwe of Chinese parents, her family immigrated to Canada in 1977 to leave the war in Rhodesia. In 1983, she graduated from Emily Carr College of Art and Design and founded the Or Gallery. She received an MFA from Simon Fraser University School for Contemporary Arts in 1999. Recipient of numerous awards, including the recent ECU Emily Award (2021), BC Arts Council (2021), Canada Council for the Arts (2020) and the Vancouver Queer Media Artist Award (2008), Laiwan serves on national and provincial arts juries and local community committees, including the Chinatown Legacy Stewardship Group and the City of Vancouver Public Art Committee. She exhibits regularly; curates projects in Canada, the US and Zimbabwe; and publishes in anthologies and journals. Her latest collection of poetry TENDER: selected poems (2020) is published by Talonbooks. Leading up to her project Distance of Distinct Vision (1992) and since then, Laiwan has been investigating colonialism toward a decoloniality. From 2000, she has engaged embodiment through performativity, audio, music, improvisation, with varieties of media, along with bodily and emotional intelligence, so as to unravel and engage presence. Recent public commissions have enabled her to focus on issues of urban development, touching on poetic and philosophic themes related to current questions of environment and the built cityscape of Vancouver. Based on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, she teaches in the MFA Interdisciplinary Arts Program at Goddard College, USA (2001-present). www.laiwanette.net

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