June 24, 2009
Vancouver artist Pamela Masik in Gastown yesterday, at the unveiling of Mona — the first of 69 paintings she created depicting missing Downtown Eastside women. Mona will be on display at the new Terminus building on Water Street.
Mona Wilson’s face can be seen in the Downtown Eastside again for the first time since she went missing in 2001.
A giant painting of the woman — who was murdered by Robert Pickton — was unveiled in Gastown yesterday by Vancouver artist Pamela Masik.
Mona is the first of 69 massive paintings of missing inner city women to be unveiled by the local artist, who called the project “overwhelming.”
“Some of the things I did early in the work were to re-enact the death of some of the women who were linked to the Pickton case,” Masik said, explaining that in some cases she slashed the canvas. “It was almost as if I was birthing them and then recreating their death and then healing them, stitching them up.”
Bruce Curtiss, manager of Vancouver ministries for Union Gospel Mission, said the project will have a “profound, immediate and life-long effect on” women in the community. “As these paintings are revealed it’s saying (we’re) allowed to remember. We’re allowed to feel and shed tears.”
Masik has launched a program called The Creative Journey, which will be run out of the Union Gospel Mission, to allow women to express themselves through art.
Linda Westley, who has been a patron and volunteer at the Mission since 2003, said that by breathing life back into the 69 missing women, Masik has reaffirmed that they were important, and that they lived.
Masik's website: http://www.theforgotten.ca/
Text and image by Kristen Thompson of Metro Vancouver news, with grateful thanks.