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.