If you or your children have ever had their face painted at Wood Lake Nature Center or Wagner's Greenhouse, chances are you've been touched by one of our great local artists.
Denyse Pahl-Jones was born and raised in Richfield and continues to live and create right here in our community. In addition to face painting, Denyse has made her mark around town by assisting in the mural on the side of the Broadway Pizza building and who hasn't stretched their arms to compare their wingspan to native birds in our region at Wood Lake Nature Center? Denyse painted those beautiful birds.
Denyse's artistic nature surfaced very early in life at age 4 when she loved drawing muscular running horses with feathered manes. Denyse began painting and working with Native American materials and images at the early age of 13 years. She painted on Buckskin bicycle handlebars.
Over the years, First Nation elders have taught Denyse the essential relationship between the spiritual and physical worlds which has led to believe that everything she creates has life (anima mundi) and her process is influenced by kind spirits.
This month, Denyse's beautiful handmade Native regalia are featured by the Richfield Art's Commission at City Hall. Many of these items were worn at the 2011 Nueta Okipa Ceremony - Sun Dance Ceremony held in on the historical site at On-A-Slant Village in North Dakota near Ft. Abraham Lincoln on the Missouri River. Many of the materials she used to make the regalia were purchased from Arc’s Value Village.
Denyse's Godfather Cedric Redfeather, a Turtle Priest who holds the stories and dreams for his people, was inspired to rebirth the Okipa Ceremony originated by the Mandan Okpa that had not been celebrated in over 120 years. The event is an intricate play of events and characters that lasts several days. The purpose of the ceremony is to honor and respect the current needs of all living things.
Whether you're simply running an errand at City Hall or make it a special visit, I urge you to take the time to view and appreciate the beautiful work of one of our most talented local artists.