Pamela Masik unveiled her portrait of Mona Wilson, one of serial killer Robert Pickton's murder victims, yesterday in Gastown. (Dharm Makwana, 24 hours)
When Pamela Masik returned to Vancouver from the New York Art Academy, she realized the story she needed to tell was right in front of her.
The svelte artist spent four sometimes-tumultuous years creating a series of 69 eight-foot by 10-foot portraits of women who had gone missing from the Downtown Eastside.
"When I would leave the studio and wake up the next morning the first thing on my mind was the women I was painting," she said. "Many times I would break down in the studio not thinking I could get through it. I'd actually get sick and pass out."
Masik unveiled her portrait of Mona Wilson, a 26-year-old aboriginal woman who Robert Pickton was convicted of killing after she went missing in 2001, at the Terminus building in Gastown.
The artist also announced her involvement in an arts program sponsored by the Union Gospel Mission.
"If I can change the life of one woman who's using the shelter that's my purpose," Masik said.
And of the portrait of Wilson said Masik, "She's my sister. They all are."