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Laiwan (b. 1961) is a Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist, writer and educator with a wide-ranging practice based in poetics and philosophy. She was born in Zimbabwe of Chinese descent, immigrating to Canada in 1977. She received a diploma from Emily Carr College of Art and Design and MFA from Simon Fraser University School for Contemporary Arts. Her work engages performativity, audio, video, photography and installation in an investigation of poetic and philosophical themes related to embodiment, emotional intelligence and spatial politics located to the environment. Since the 1980s, Laiwan has worked as a writer and editor in arts and community publications and curated various programs in film and video festivals and exhibitions. She founded Or Gallery in Vancouver in 1983, and was chair of the Grunt Gallery Board of Directors from 2010 to 2014. Laiwan participates in public discourse, discussions, lectures, artist talks and workshops. She has taught in the MFA Interdisciplinary Arts Program at Goddard College since 2001. Laiwan has received numerous grants and commissions, most recently including a BC Arts Council Visual Arts Award (2021), Canada Council Research and Creation Award (2020) and the Vancouver Queer Media Artist Award (2008), as well as commissions from the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Program (2016), the Vancouver Heritage Foundation (2014), the Burnaby Art Gallery and a residency with the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia (2017/18).

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