About the Artist

Pamela Gaard, b. Minneapolis,1955

My early interest in visual mediums was first influenced by my family’s work with a variety of textiles and tailoring. I was surrounded by fabrics, thread and buttons from a young age, and the influence of textile arts has been and continues to be felt in the patterns and backgrounds of my paintings. My formal arts education began at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design and earlier work with found object assemblage included textiles, toys, beads, ribbons, bedsprings, and other detritus not generally included in what has traditionally been considered “legitimate” art.

Completing my degree in Public Health resulted in a position as a health scientist. I have worked in the large vibrant Somali immigrant community in Minneapolis for over a decade -- teaching about health and wellness, and learning about my Somali neighbors -- beginning with the cuisine.

Immersion into this community led me to create portraits of Somali-Americans (some for elders with the assistance of interpreters), along with other friends, colleagues and neighbors. I intend for my portraits to focus a positive spotlight, create healing dialing, and begin to dispel some of the misconceptions and misunderstandings toward our immigrant communities; and ultimately create a more loving resilient society. Because what is a painting, if not love?