The Story of Jane Doe

Shary Boyle

A Space Windows

April 1 – 20, 2003

The Story of Jane Doe is a series of drawings that were commissioned to illustrate the book published by Random House Canada.

The launch of the book The Story of Jane Doe will take place on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 at S.P.I.N. Gallery, 4 – 6 pm

"Sometime in 2000 I was contacted by a woman who identified herself as Jane Doe. She was writing a book about rape and the culture that allows it. In this book she told her story, how she took the Toronto Police to court over their inherently sexist policies and attitudes towards women who have been raped. She discovered these attitudes first hand, during the 1986/87 trial of the man who raped her. Known as "the Balcony Rapist", he was apprehended only after one of Jane’s own warning posters prompted a local parole officer to identify her ‘client’.

Jane believes in the power of each person’s voice, in the power of questioning assumptions of authority, of taking action. She also believes in the power of art to instigate change.

In asking me to create drawings in response to her writing, Jane Doe invited me to forge a path between art and activism. Making these drawings was the most empowering challenge of my history as an artist. The drawings were created in the summer of 2002, after I read the manuscript originally titled "Jane Doe’s Coffee Table Book about Rape". Drawing has its own language, it rests between words, below and above writing. These images speak the fierce-sad-furious-joy of a woman’s fight against the bureaucracy of power and its culture of violence and oppression."

Shary Boyle, Toronto, March 2003


I have been making art from a subversively female perspective for the past 10 years. My paintings and drawings offer alternative representations of the spirit, imagination and sexuality of women. I have found that feminism, like race and class issues, fades in and out of an always tentative social acceptability. Living outside the dominant culture, however, is a daily experience, affecting the quality of our lives on every level.