About Paula B. Sayers
Artist in front of Mission Range St. Ignatius, Montana
Paula Sayers, whose Ojibwe name is Miskobii'an, meaning ‘paint it red’, is a member of The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Red Lake Minnesota.
Schooled in the cultural conventions of the Anishnaabe, she specializes in monochromatic painting of pictograph images, using natural red earth for the majority of her work.
Born in Minnesota, the artist grew up on the site of the earliest known Ojibwe settlement; Fond Du Lac, (later annexed by Duluth). An important settlement for the Ojibwe between the 16th and 19th centuries. Her backyard was also the site of an American Fur Company trading post between 1808 and 1847.
Sayers has studied pictograph methods, techniques and mythology from tribal elders in the U.S. and Canada. When asked about her motivation for this unusual art medium, she stated:
"...Our spiritual dreams and visions are mostly a private matter. When we receive instruction from God pertaining to healing or following a certain path, we must act upon it, or lose these gifts given by the Great Creator.
Here in the 21st Century, Native American storytellers and wisdom keepers are disappearing at an alarming rate. In a culture once deeply embedded in symbolism, many of us have forgotten the signs and symbols that our ancestors created to help us navigate through life.
I hope my work will be an incentive to the Anishinaabeg and people everywhere in the preservation of ancient pictographs and traditions.”
Both of Paula’s parents were descendants of the early peoples of the Great Lakes and members of their respective medicine lodges.
In 1978, Paula's father, the inspiration for her art work, became a counselor at Mash-ka-wisen, an addiction treatment center owned and operated by Native Americans. Since then Mash-ka-wisen has helped thousands of Native People.
The artists father; Phillip Sayers circa 1990
Paula is committed to working to preserve the art of prehistoric pictograph painting, and help people learn more about the world’s oldest art form.
Miigwetch (Thank you).