So, I checked out Pamela Masik's "The Forgotten," www.the forgotten.ca (I had remembered painfully reading about her in the Vancouver Sun...maybe last year). She is astoundingly self-indulgent: On the homepage Masik appears sorrowful and contemplative beside a painting of, I believe, Mona Wilson; her artist statement is a vapid cliche of privileged perspective; and frankly, she looks as about as authentic as a furrow-browed Angelina Jolie listening to the plight of Sudanese children. Masik claims her inclusion by way of self-portrait #70 in "The Forgotten" is to communicate a sense of solidarity - "[w]hen one woman is violated, all women are. It could have been me." (Really? You could have left your swank Yaletown studio one day and joined the survival sex trade only to have your desperate life ripped from you?) It is really just a continuation of the tortured-artist-entering-a-really-dark-place schtick she has been peddling since starting this project. The audacity of her narcissism is second only to that of Lincoln Clarkes.
Masik's work, in its carelessness, does raise the issue of how Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES) and its various narratives are used for so called artful memorializing. While some work based on this part of Vancouver is very important and thoughtful, an equal amount, if not more has is just completely advantageous, a glorification of misery. (I can't even imagine how many Emily Carr photography freshman trundle along DTES alleys on first street-photography assignments.)