Icon-fb Icon-twitter Icon-tumblr
Laiwan is an artist and writer recognized for her interdisciplinary practice based in poetics and philosophy. Born in Zimbabwe of Chinese parents, she immigrated to Canada in 1977 to leave the war in Rhodesia.

In 1983 she founded the OR Gallery at 1729 Franklin Street in Vancouver. She was artist-in-residence / programmer during its first year. In 1988 she initiated the First Vancouver Lesbian Film Festival in collaboration with the Lesbian Network, the Vancouver East Cinema, the Pacific Cinematheque and the National Film Board of Canada. This four day event was a celebrated public success for the community.

Laiwan continues to exhibit in various group and solo shows, curates projects in the US, Canada and Zimbabwe, and is an activist in gay and feminist community organizing. Published in journals and in collections such as Swallowing Clouds: An Anthology of Chinese-Canadian Poetry; Facing History: Portraits from Vancouver, and, DAMP: Contemporary Vancouver Media Art; Laiwan also writes about art. Recently she examined hauntology in the work of Ed Pien for Canadian Art Magazine.

Featured in:


September 5, 1997 to October 4, 1997

Tongue is a group exhibition exploring language, its structure of meaning and the way that they are manifested or displaced through memory and translation. The seven artists in the exhibition incorporate languages other than English in their work to articulate notions of identity, cultural difference, and personal history. A variety of media is represented including video, installation, photography, and painting.