Leila Daw

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Leila Daw (born 1940)[1] is an American installation artist and art professor; her work uses diverse materials to explore themes of cartography and feminism.

Life and work[edit]

Leila Daw received her Masters of Fine Arts from the St. Louis School of Fine Arts at Washington University, and her Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She was a professor of art from 1974 through 1976 at Tusculum College, Maryville College, and Forest Park Community College, from 1976 through 1990 at Southern Illinois University, and from 1990 to 2002 at the Massachusetts College of Art. In 2002 she retired from teaching to become a full-time artist.[2][3]

Daw's works include permanent installations at the Bradley International Airport[4] and the New Haven Free Public Library;[5] she has also participated in group exhibits at the Contemporary Arts Center[6][7] and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.[8] Daw was one of a group of artists who took part in the design of the St. Louis MetroLink light rail system, and she became a member of the MetroLink project management team.[9][10][11] Her work Red River (1991) at Centenary College of Louisiana, a pattern of wildflowers in a public lawn, is imbued with symbolism of menstruation and menopause.[12] Art by Daw originally commissioned for the Massachusetts Turnpike – a set of steel park benches painted to look like oversized folded paper maps – is on exhibit at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts.[13][14] Other works of Daw have been more ephemeral: her Pre-Historic River Channel (1981), for instance, used skywriting to map the course of the Mississippi River at an earlier age when it bypassed the current location of St. Louis.[15]

Over the years, Daw has incorporated a great diversity of materials into her work. As Joanna Frueh writes, "Since the early 1980s she has used acrylic, pencil, bronzing powders, metal leaf, Mylar, foil, and other mixed media on paper and canvas in order to create maps that replicate the terrain in regions where she has lived – St. Louis and Boston – and traveled, by car, plane, and imagination, such as the American desert West."[16]


  1. ^ Love, Barbara J. (2006), "Daw, Leila (1940 –)", Feminists who changed America, 1963–1975, University of Illinois Press, p. 111, ISBN 978-0-252-03189-2.
  2. ^ Resume Archived 2011-05-17 at the Wayback Machine from artist's web site, retrieved 2010-04-17.
  3. ^ Artist information Archived 2010-03-23 at the Wayback Machine from Atrium Gallery, St. Louis, retrieved 2010-04-17.
  4. ^ Langdon, Philip (April 27, 2003), "Vertical Leap: Bradley Airport Reaches For The Sky With Its Expanded Terminal – But Is It Soaring Or Just Tall?", Hartford Courant.
  5. ^ Percent for Art Program, City of New Haven, retrieved 2010-04-17.
  6. ^ Jones, Richard O. (May 16, 2008), "Maps become art in CAC exhibit", JournalNews.
  7. ^ Uncoordinated: Mapping Cartography in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Center, May 17 – August 17, 2008, retrieved 2010-04-17.
  8. ^ Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape Archived 2008-06-16 at the Wayback Machine, Mass MoCA, May 24, 2008 – April 12, 2009, retrieved 2010-04-17.
  9. ^ Blumenfeld, Emily; Yatzeck, Tanya (1996), "Public transportation as collaborative art: MetroLink, St. Louis", Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 1549: 79–84, doi:10.3141/1549-11.
  10. ^ Adams, Alice (1994), "St. Louis Metrolink: Changing the Rules of Transit Design", Places, 9 (2).
  11. ^ Miles, Malcolm (1997), Art, space and the city: public art and urban futures, Routledge, p. 147, ISBN 978-0-415-13943-4.
  12. ^ Pearsall, Marilyn (1997), The other within us: feminist explorations of women and aging, Westview Press, p. 211, ISBN 978-0-8133-8163-3.
  13. ^ Leila Daw Archived 2008-05-10 at the Wayback Machine, DeCordova Museum, retrieved 2010-04-17.
  14. ^ Sherman, Mary (August 5, 1999), "Pike pique – How Leila Daw's maps made a left turn to Lincoln", Boston Herald.
  15. ^ Poleskie, Steve (1985), "Art and Flight: Historical Origins to Contemporary Works", Leonardo, 18 (2): 69–80, doi:10.2307/1577873, JSTOR 1577873, S2CID 192942081.
  16. ^ Frueh, Joanna (Spring 1994), "The erotic as social security", Art Journal, 53 (1, Art and Old Age): 71, doi:10.1080/00043249.1994.10791609, JSTOR 777540.

Further reading[edit]

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