About the Artist

Pamela Gaard, b. Minneapolis,1955

I began my studies at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and completed my formal education in public health at the University of WI and University of MN. My artistic interest for many years was in repurposing found objects into sculpture, often creating late into the night.

When my scientist position ended in 2006, I was invited to teach an art class at a small nonprofit organization for girls from east Africa. This brought me the opportunity and inspiration to learn the cuisines of east Africa from the girls' moms, which led to a decade of employment in the large vibrant community of Somali immigrants in Minneapolis. Immersion in the community through my work in health and wellness brought me to create portraits of Somali-Americans in Minneapolis, along with other friends, colleagues and neighbors, in a project I called "Faces of Minnesota."

My solo 2014 exhibition, "Shalom/Nabad" presented portraits of individuals from the Somali and Jewish communities, and my research with elders of both communities revealed commonalities in the two disparate diasporas.

Portraiture conflates my interests in language, figurative art, costume, psychology and abstraction. My portraits are mainly made from life. I strive to bring communities together through my art, and build solidarity between neighbors.

My paintings, sculptures, and photographs have exhibited in over 50 exhibitions in the US and Europe; locally at Instinct Gallery, TuckUnder, Co Exhibitions, Walker Art Center, Hennepin History Museum, Made Here on Block E (Hennepin Theatre Trust), and Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art.