It's been a four year project for Vancouver-based artist, Pamela Masik. Painting the faces of the 69 Missing Women from Vancouver's Eastside has proven to be a massive undertaking: emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually. Nearing completion, the collection has been picked up by a major public institution (which will be officially announced next week at the fundraiser).
Working alongside Pamela in the studio photographing the process has been an experience unto itself. Seeing the faces emerge from the canvases, their stories and their pain evident. It is a powerful feeling, working amongst the women as they follow you through the studio. At first, it is intimidating, but over the years, their faces become familiar, they become friends, and you see something other than just pain in their eyes. In Pamela's face, I see pain, too. I see exhaustion. I see her spirit waxing and waning like the moon. She pours herself into their stories, lending her own voice in their silence. When she finishes a portrait, I sense a completion within her, as if she herself has somehow been healed in the process. I also see worry about the project being misunderstood... her plight, her intentions. But like any artist, she knows that in putting it out there, she is at risk for speculation, misinterpretation, and judgement. She is driven to tell their story; theirs and millions of other women marginalized in societal structures, made dependent and disillusioned about their own power and self-worth.
In addition to the paintings, she has started an Arts Program for the Union Gospel Mission in the Downtown Eastside. This program is designed with the friends of 'The Forgotten' in mind.
At the fundraiser, Pamela will unveil 'Mona', the first from the Forgotten Series as well as showcase new paintings from the 'Prodigy Child' series as well as dreamy abstracts with 50% of the proceeds going towards the new Art Program.
If you are interested in attending the event, please rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org as there is limited capacity. 6-8pm. June 23rd, 2009. 32 Water Street, Gastown, Vancouver.