Art  /  Portrait: Mother and Child

Portrait: Mother and Child

by Shira Leuchter

About the pieces:

I made this piece as a response to offerings that Balancing Act participants shared during conversations in Montreal/Tiohtià:ke and Saskatoon/misâskwatômina. There were various ideas, values and feelings that repeated–time, trust, relationality, offerings, tenderness–
and these repetitions brought me to a memory that I’ve shared in the piece.

I’ve used an assortment of vintage linens that include many complex handmade elements. These kinds of intricately woven textiles have long been used as symbols of the ways in which we weave our communities, each of us a thread in a larger fabric. I am interested in making the labour of each stitch visible, and in placing my handiwork in conversation with pieces that have their own histories.

Caregiving can be a site of revolution, as writers like Patricia Hill Collins and Adrienne Rich teach us. Following Sara Ruddick’s inquiries, I think that paying attention to the ways in which we build and document our own ethics of care can help us to develop models for the worlds we wish to build. What we pay attention to matters, and bringing our private stories into public spaces asserts that this work has value, that it is essential labour. I am deeply grateful to Balancing Act for creating a space for us to share our stories and imagine futures together.

About the artist:

Shira Leuchter (she/her) is an actor, writer, and performance creator. She makes performances that invite audiences to imagine and rehearse new ways for us to be together. She is a parent to two very cool and funny people. You can check out her work at

Shira is a member of the Balancing Act steering committee. Read more about Shira here.

More about Portrait: Mother and Child

The pieces were commissioned by Balancing Act for the Wrap and Unpack: Toronto event on March 22, 2024.