Laiwan was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, of Chinese origin. She emigrated to Canada in 1977 to leave the war in Rhodesia. She is an interdisciplinary artist and writer based in Vancouver, BC. A graduate of Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Laiwan started the OR Gallery in 1983. She has since initiated various curatorial projects, participated in a variety of group and solo exhibitions in Canada, the US and Europe, and has been involved in community-based volunteer activism. Her writing can be found in numerous arts and community publications and her book “distance of distinct vision” was published by the Western Front in 1992. Articule Gallery in Montreal released a publication examining her book work and collages in 1998.

From 1994 to 1997, Laiwan was co-editor of Front Magazine published by the Western Front. She received her degree of Master of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University.

Her multi-media installation titled “Machinate: a projection in two movements” was exhibited at the Video In Studios, Vancouver and Gallery 101, Ottawa. It will travel to the Dalhousie Art Gallery / Khyber Centre for the Arts, Halifax in March 2000. This installation uses 16mm film, video, audio, sculptural assemblage and the internet to explore issues of technologised consciousness, the body and machine. Her 1998 videowork “Remotely in Touch” is distributed by V-Tape, Toronto and Video Out, Vancouver.

Her next projects in Vancouver include a collaboration with emerging artist Sam Shem at Artspeak Gallery (Dec. 1999) and a multi-media/ interdisciplinary collaboration with musician/composer Lori Freedman to be installed at the Belkin Gallery (Jun. 2000) which will include CD-Rom and web components.