As a feminist artist and mother, I cope with the need to balance professional demands and strong maternal emotions, by creating situations that identify and illustrate the difficulty. This piece of needlework, Worried Mother, is the result of an activity ('performance' would imply more dissociative detachment than existed) in a hospital waiting room, while a child was having surgery. It became at once a creative act, a statement of the problem, and a means of transcending the situation it describes. The fact that the medium is embroidery references a long tradition of acceptable creative outlets for women; I found that experiencing a child's illness connected me unexpectedly powerfully to a continuum of mothering, and women's work, through the ages.
Daw's public installations can be seen at Bradley International Airport, Hartford, Connecticut; the New Haven (Connecticut) Public Library; Northwestern Connecticut Community College, and the St. Louis (Missouri) light rail system. Her work is in the collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum, DeCordova Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, Boston Public Library, Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, and more.
Publications about Daw's work include: Katherine Harmon, The Map as Art, Princeton Architectural Press; Denise Markonish, Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape, MIT press; E. Ashley Rooney, 100 Artists of New England, Schiffer Publishing; Ronald Lee Fleming, The Art of Placemaking: Interpreting Community through Public Art and Urban Design, Merrill Publishers. Articles about her work have appeared in Art in America, Art News, The New York Times, Art New England, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe.
Leila Daw Worried Mother 1985 embroidery on canvas 14 x 20½ inches (35½ x 52 cm)