Self portraits

Self portraits

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Shalom / Nabad

Traffic Zone Gallery presents Shalom / Nabad, an exhibition of new artworks by Minneapolis artist Pamela Gaard.


Opening Reception ~ Friday, January 31, from 6:00 to 8:30 PM (remarks at 7 PM)

Traffic Zone Gallery, 250 Third Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 - 5:30 PM


Shalom / Nabad is "peace" in two languages (Hebrew / Somali) and both words are also used as greetings in their respective cultures.

Pamela Gaard’s portraits transcend the barriers of language, examining cultural identity and preservation. They illuminate faces which often go unseen ~ Somali and other east African elders, who now (some for up to 20 years) call Minnesota home. Her portraits of friends, colleagues, and other artists ~ along with elders from east Africa ~ create a utopian society where people of all ages, religions, and cultures unite. These pictures reflect the changing face of Minnesota, now home to 75,000 Somalis who have settled here through the African diaspora; becoming the largest community outside of Mogadishu.

Artist Statement
“My interest in portraying Somali and other east African elders is to honor those who traditionally are leaders and healers in their community. Most of the elders don't speak English, and I work with interpreters to sketch and photograph the models, and later finish the portraits in my studio. These paintings would not be possible without the help of many scholars, teachers, colleagues and friends in the community. I have been creating portraits for six years. They are made with thin glazes of acrylics, and sometimes collage, on heavyweight archival French paper, and indulge my interests in cultural diversity, ornament, costume, and psychology.”
-- Pamela Gaard

Artist Biography
Pamela Gaard studied at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and later received advanced degrees in the sciences. She is largely self-taught as an artist. Her work has been included in 50 exhibitions nationally and in Europe. For the past six years, she has worked with Somali and other east African elders in healthcare and community settings, and recently has created portraits of some of the elders in our community. Through her studies, she is acquiring rudimentary skills in Somali language. She also knows some Hebrew and Yiddish. The Islamic art influence evidenced in her work is inherited from her Turkish grandfather. As a Jew and second-generation American, she is intrigued with how cultural traditions, language, and customs are preserved through the generations; and she is compelled to welcome newcomers to our community.

Pamela Gaard is a fiscal year 2013 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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