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Purdue Exponent,
West Lafayette, IN
October 26, 2015

Deaf artist Ellen Mansfield uses her art to inform the hearing population about deaf culture and to end oppression in the deaf community.

Mansfield is a part of De’VIA (Deaf View/Image Art), a group of artists who use their art to express their experience of being deaf.

“It was expanded upon to incorporate acting and writing, and it emphasizes the importance of all of the things that are the deaf experience,” said Mansfield through her interpreter.

De’VIA art involves repeated features such as the use of eyes, mouths, ears and hands. Many of the motifs used also involve animals.

“Animals like bees, butterflies, turtles and snakes don’t have hearing at all. Deaf artists apply that to their artwork as a sort of symbolism,” said Mansfield.

De’VIA flourished in 1989 and started with only eight deaf artists. Shortly after the group’s inception, the artists separated to pursue their own projects. It wasn’t until 2012 that they would come back together again.

Mansfield became a full-time artist in 2011 just as De’VIA was beginning to take off again. One of Mansfield’s works at the time reflected upon her years without American Sign Language (ASL).

“My experience not using ASL for many years was not good,” said Mansfield. “I really had no form of communication. I didn’t feel alive. With ASL, it really gave me life, it taught me how to communicate. What happens to flowers without sun? They die. ASL was my sun.”

Read More  . . . Deaf artist



La Jolla Light
By Will Bowen
Feb. 11, 2015

Art can be of great value in helping us look at concepts like “difference” and “equality” in new ways. It can even speed the process of our social evolution.

The Calit2 gallery (California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology) on the UC San Diego campus is one place where they are not afraid to do this and that makes it worthy of our attention. Calit2 is a place that can help us grow. Its curators and artists make our humanity “bigger.”

The latest show at Calit2 is called “LOUD silence.” It’s about sound and hearing and explores the question, “What do deaf people really hear?”

The artists in this show collectively attempt to explode the myth of a silent deaf world. They aim to build a pathway that will help eradicate any prejudice against deaf people and lead to new ways of thinking about sound and silence.

Social scientists Carol Padden and Tom Humphries say people with deafness actually know a lot about sound; it informs and inhabits their world just as much it does the next person.

It’s just that the deaf hear more viscerally — through vibrations and feelings. They may even see sound.

Read Article - Loud Silence