Jane Doe

Heather Gentleman

January 28 - February 6, 2010

Jane Doe

Part of "Voices", a multi-arts midwinter festival in conjunction with Nipissing University, the North Bay Symphony, and White Water Gallery. 

Jane Doe is curated by Dermot Wilson, Director of the WKP Kennedy Gallery. Toronto artist Heather Gentleman will open an installation focusing on the historical and contemporary silencing of women.

Artist's Statement:

Voices of Light: Jane Doe

Heather Gentleman

Throughout time, the voices of women have been silenced by gender bias, war, poverty, racism and religious persecution. I propose to bring to life the voices of forgotten women. These are not famous women, but "everyday women" who contributed to the framework of society, who carried on traditions of their ancestors, persevered and carried the dreams of their generation in their hearts. I chose the name "Jane Doe" as all of these women are unknown to us and yet they have had impact on our lives. I wish to honour them and to give voice to their stories.

At the front of the gallery there would be death masks numbered "Jane Doe 1", "Jane Doe 2", etcetera. At this point in time, that is all we know of them. They are anonymous women, whose stories and opinions and truths were never heard.

Inside the gallery is where each woman is introduced. Each Jane Doe has an accompanying painting of the image of the woman. Underneath the painting would be an opened book that encompasses her words. At the opening, each Jane Doe would be represented by an "everyday woman" who would read the words and releases her voice from silence.

She could be an African woman who was born into slavery in a foreign land, but carried on her heritage through song. She could be an Iroquois woman who was torn from her family and traditions and put into a Residential School, learning her native tongue for the first time in her old age. She could be a Jewish woman who was taken to a Polish ghetto by the Nazis, along with her family, and escaped, but spent the rest of her life living as a Catholic. She could be a woman who lived the life of a "good woman" by keeping a clean house, caring for a husband and children, but had to numb her desires with Valium.

This exhibit will bring to light the voices of all the Jane Does throughout our history.


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