First of 69 missing women portraits unveiled by Vancouver artist

20 07 2009

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Pamela Masik is an artist in Vancouver that began a art project since 2006 in memory of  sex trade workers who have gone missing or found dead in the downtown east side.   She painted massive portraits of these women for her four year long project and announced last month that she plans to create an art program for women at the Union Gospel Mission.

The Vancouver Sun first chronicled Masik’s “Forgotten Faces” project when she started it in 2006. She has completed 59 of the portraits, and said she is finalizing plans for all 69 to be displayed “at a major public institution,” likely in 2011.

A recent article with updates on the project states:

The first of 69 portraits by artist Pamela Masik was unveiled Tuesday at a press conference in Gastown, revealing a starkly life-like image of Mona Wilson, who disappeared in November 2001 at the age of 26.

Wilson’s remains were later found on the Port Coquitlam farm of Robert (Willie) Pickton, who has been convicted in her murder.

Below Wilson’s piercing dark eyes and high cheek bones are slash marks in the canvas and newspaper articles woven into the texture of the 2.4-metre wide and three-metre tall (eight-by-10 feet) artwork.

The knife wounds represent the fate Wilson met at the hands of her killer, Masik said; the newspaper clippings indicate her story became a very public one, only after society collectively shrugged when the women first started disappearing.

They were real people, just like you and me. It’s a tragedy that so many women can go missing and be murdered,” Masik said. “Everyone deserves a dignified life.”

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These are not women we should forget because they are also someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s mother.  They are like anyone of us.  They deserved to be rememebered.

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4 responses

20 07 2009
Salwin

It is very sad to hear that this happens. Violence against women sex workers must stop. There needs to be a change in society’s attitude and perspective of sex workers.

21 07 2009
vio493

Thank you for voicing your opinion on this issue! What do you think would be an effective way or method to change society’s views? Education programs? Marketing? Ads?

We’re started a facebook group to build a social network regarding this issue. Please join our group! http://www.facebook.com/helen.lu?ref=profile#/group.php?gid=131418130341&ref=mf

23 07 2009
Salwin

I think all is required is simple education. When people learn the facts, they will be smarter and more informed. This will enable people to be more aware and make conscious decisions.

27 07 2009
nataliez09

It is horrible to hear stories like this. I think it is really important for us and everyone to do something to help to save a life. I am touched by what Masik has said, “They were real people, just like you and me.” There might be thousands of different reasons behind them for being a sex trade workers, but they should not be treated this way.

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