Deaf Art incorporates powerful narratives that express Deaf artists’ journeys over time, portraying their experiences with communication, identity, transformation, injustice, and the new consciousness that arises from these life-changing circumstances. Like other Deaf people, Deaf artists have experienced struggle in different parts of their lives. Although a diverse group, they express common feelings of being shackled, both metaphorically and physically; or of the freedom to communicate through signed languages. Deafhood journeys often incorporate developing acceptance and celebrating the intersectionality of Deaf identity, which in some cases involves humor. They then continue to transformation, of the self or of the world. Deaf artists use symbolism to express rage against continued injustices, especially language deprivation and oppression, audism, racism and dealing with the medical industrial complex. Recent events, including the Black Lives Matter movement, the pandemic, and the 2020 presidential election have raised new consciousness and this is reflected in Deaf artists’ work. De’VIA is about how Deaf artists define their own perspectives and narratives, rather than being defined by outsiders. They encapsulate Deaf people’s ideas, perspectives and experiences of their lives in their art.
This exhibit is divided into five theme groupings: Communication; This is Who We Are; Growth and Transformation; Lies You Tell; and New Consciousness. The works of 28 Deaf artists are included, in media ranging from ceramics to collage.