Leila Ward arrived in Deià in 1974, initially intending to stay for a couple of months. But, after meeting members of the village community who she found intriguing, she decided not to go back to England.
‘Coming to Deiá changed my life,’ Leila says today. ‘As a young woman I had a dream about a beautiful island, and I ended up here. I suppose it was a sign.’
Aged just 10, British-born Leila’s school arranged for her to attend weekly classes at Brighton School of Art. But it was only after coming to Deià and studying with the American painter Robert Bradbury because she felt she needed a creative outlet that Leila finally became a working artist.
She is mostly inspired by Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin as well as by ancient Persian, Egyptian and Greek art.
Since 1979, Leila has exhibited regularly on Mallorca, mostly in Deià. Her work has also been shown in the UK, Germany, and the USA. She is represented in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Managua, Nicaragua. Work by Leila is also in private collections all over the world including Australia, Japan and South America.
Today, Leila works in oil on canvas, oil on paper and, occasionally, oil pastel on paper. Her subject, which she paints most days, is invariably Deià and the natural landscape of the West Coast of the island as well as other Mallorca locations. Of the village itself, she says ‘I’ve been here so long it’s sort of inside of me.’