Movement for Two Grannies: Five Variations – Laiwan

Movement for Two Grannies: Five Variations 
LAIWAN, 2011
1 minute, colour, silent

This work, curated by Paul Wong, was exhibited in the Scholar’s Study in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden as part of the 身在唐人街 / OCCUPYING CHINATOWN summer exhibition from July 13 to September 23, 2018.

“In Movement For Two Grannies, I celebrate my elders. With tenacity, endurance, resilience, and humour they move forward passing on values and ethics, rituals and philosophies, through daily movements that ripple out beyond Vancouver. Their legacy and lineage are the foundations of a strong, vibrant cultural community in Chinatown. Dedicated to the spirit and life of my grandmother and all grandmothers for their everyday endurance and persistence despite our cultural and social neglect of elders.”


Movement For Two Grannies: Five Variations is an ethereal work of cinematography featuring two Chinese grannies engaged in a moment of intimate and affectionate friendship. The scene is surreal, sensual, and serene, unlike our fast-paced urban environment. Here, LAIWAN proposes an endearing rendition of a 1-minute action movie, unhurried and cherished. It is poetic that the placement of this film is in the Scholar’s Study, as this pavilion and courtyard is located exactly at the water’s edge where False Creek’s original shoreline used to be, prior to industrialization and landfill. The grannies are depicted walking on water through time, reminding us of evolving landscapes and lost histories. 

Movement For Two Grannies was one of eight works originally commissioned in 2011 as part of 10-Seconds in Time, an artist-initiated series of works curated by Paul Wong, and commissioned by the City of Vancouver. 10-Seconds in Time screened on 25 video screens over 13 Canada Line SkyTrain station platforms. 

LAIWAN is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator with a wide-ranging practice based in poetics and philosophy. Born in Zimbabwe of Chinese parents, her family immigrated to Canada in 1977 to leave the war in Rhodesia. Her art training began at the Emily Carr College of Art & Design (1983), and she returned to school to receive an MFA from Simon Fraser University School for Contemporary Arts (1999). Recipient of numerous awards, including a recent Canada Council InterArts Research & Creation Award (2017) and the Vancouver Queer Media Artist Award (2008), Laiwan has served on numerous arts juries, exhibits regularly, curates projects in Canada, the US, and Zimbabwe, is published in anthologies and journals, is a cultural activist, and lives in Vancouver.

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Exhibition, Installation, Video