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. As a youth I was surrounded by colorful fabrics, thread and buttons, and the influence of textile arts has been and continues to be felt in the layered patterns of my paintings. There is something about using these motifs which brings me closer to understanding unresolved memories, so I keep exploring this theme.

My arts education began at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design, bridging painting and sculpture. Early works combined found objects including textiles and metals — wire, saw blades, bedsprings — along with toys, beads, ribbons, and other detritus not generally included in what has traditionally been considered “legitimate” or high art.

Completing my degree in Public Health resulted in a position as a health scientist, which is how I’ve made my living. For the past decade, I have worked in the large vibrant Somali immigrant community in Minneapolis -- teaching health and wellness, and learning from my Somali neighbors, beginning with their cuisine.

My abstract and language-based works explore time, memory, history and healing through color, form and movement. These paintings and collages are meditations on everyday life — mnemonics which contain emotions, experiences, events — some quite private in nature; they are prayers or visual poems.

My interest in portraiture has spanned some years and collaborations with other artists. Faces of Minnesota has been in development for a number of years, facinated with the changing face of our neighborhoods. Some portraits of elders were assisted by interpreters. My portrait subjects are varied — some are young, some are elderly, immigrants, and others — they are people from all walks of life — people we might pass by on the street and who may otherwise go unseen, unnoticed.