Day 19: Pamela Masik

This artist has a lot of work that I really admire but I’d like to focus on one of her projects in particular.

The Forgotten’ Project

A title chosen to describe society’s apathy
Toward a group of women marginalized
By class, race, gender, and sexuality.
From 1978 to early 2000’s,
69 women went missing
From Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Over the year’s, some women removed off the poster,
But I stuck with the original number.
These women are still gone.
Society was ignoring what was going on,
But the friends, family and community
From which they came, did not.


I lived on the DTES.
Studio around the corner from my apartment.
My son was scared to walk to the studio.
Needles human feces at my front porch.
He questioned my kindness to strangers.
I said, never judge, everyone has a story.


Media sensationalized these stories,
Public blamed a serial killer,
But there were deeper issues
To confront.


Some collectors wouldn’t visit me in the area,
Asked if I finished painting the whores yet.
It made my blood boil.
The ignorance.
But I knew it was fear.


What if I could create a body of work so powerfully moving
That views could be challenged
That the realization of society’s role,
Our play in this tragedy,
Could inspire social change?


I dedicated five years now,
To create a body of work,
To confront issues
Violence, not having a voice,
Disposability.


I didn’t deny the truth,
The innocence and beauty too.
I created this collection to create awareness on issues
That still exist throughout the world
And especially for
Women most vulnerable
Marginalized.


I struggled with the information or lack thereof.
I questioned my own material that was researched on-line,
Through media and family and friends.
What is the truth? Why did this happen?
What would it take?
How could I contribute to something so important to me as a woman, a mother?


The only voice I know, is through my paintbrush,
So I paint.
Trusting the day will come
When the collection can inspire
World conferences,
discussions leading to increased awareness,
Students challenged to think about social change,
Bridging a gap between classes
And inspiring the possibility of a better future
For women at risk.

These women may have been victim’s to a brutal violence
Due to social apathy,
But today I like to think of them as heroes.
Who will inspire social change,
And never truly ‘forgotten’.

Pam was supposed to exhibit the collection at MOA
http://www.moa.ubc.ca/about/news_item.php?item=788

But was unfortunately met with a lot of opposition.
http://www.feminisms.org/tag/pamela-masik/

I understand this is a great divide in feminism, speaking on issues that you yourself aren’t a part of, but I think in Pam’s case she was doing a service to these women and used art to transcend language and she expressed her message wonderfully. I also dont much care for the statement made that she is obsessed with being photographed. That’s a little unnecessary. She’s a beautiful woman, if she wants to be photographed that’s her right.

Masik is also a performance artist and sculptor, you should check out more of her work.

The Pythia

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