Within the contours of TENDER lie field notes from a life lived across multiple affinities, kinships, and desires. Equally visual and textual, TENDER is a beautifully complex collection spanning thirty years of curious inquiry into our shared human–animal condition. Laiwan ... Read more
Within the contours of TENDER lie field notes from a life lived across multiple affinities, kinships, and desires. Equally visual and textual, TENDER is a beautifully complex collection spanning thirty years of curious inquiry into our shared human–animal condition. Laiwan traverses diverse terrains – the body, land, language – which are rooted in her courageous and uncompromising history of activism and in experiences of building community across and beyond difference. TENDER offers a radical and decolonizing cleansing of all that oppresses and alienates. The words and images in this collection reveal the heroic struggles of gendered, raced, and sexual differences from a place of incredible tenderness and vulnerability. Laiwan’s words imprint in us the need to breathe our animal skins back to life after the scarring of fearful states of abandonment and betrayal. Read as a retrospective and as a continued call for a passionate caring for one another, TENDER offers us freedom in the face of limitation: a working at setting free. Each section of the book captures a moment in time and feeling. Ghostly images are choreographed to leave us alerted to longing and hope, absence and presence. It is as if the entire collection were a garden at different stages of growth, with the inevitable decay and renewal that each season brings. Haunting, political, and defiantly sexy, Laiwan’s voice is a guiding force.
LAIWAN is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator with a wide-ranging practice based in poetics and philosophy. Born in Zimbabwe of Toisanese-Chinese parents, her family immigrated to Canada in 1977 to leave the war in Rhodesia. She attended the Emily Carr College of Art and Design (1983) and has an MFA from the SFU School for Contemporary Arts (1999). Recipient of numerous awards, including recent Canada Council and BC Arts Council awards, along with the 2008 Vancouver Queer Media Artist Award, Laiwan has served on numerous arts juries, exhibits regularly, curates projects in Canada, the U.S., and Zimbabwe, is published in anthologies and journals, and is a cultural activist. She is currently working on site-specific public art commissions, including "Maple Tree Spiral: The Pedagogy of a Tree in the City" at Artspeak Gallery.
Laiwan was Chair of the grunt gallery BoD (2010–2014) and she teaches in the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts Program at Goddard College. She founded the OR Gallery (1983) and is based on the unceded Territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples.
"Laiwan's poetry moves between myth and minutiae with bright, buoyant optimism. "—Rebecca Peng, Rungh Magazine
"A book which reminds its reader to wander without objective, 'for intimacy is new every time. '"—PRISM international
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