All American Breakfast, 1992
Acrylic, 28" x 34"
From the collection of Elizabeth Weyerhauser, Arizona
Fingerspelling is not a Baird
hallmark. Fingerspelled words have been absorbed into other paintings, notably those of Morris Broderson. Here the body and spout of a syrup bottle have turned into a hand and a thumb out of which syrup
pours onto a plate of pancakes. It is as if human parts have been transplanted onto an inanimate object. It is a startling union of two incompatible forms.
Art No. 2, 1993
Acrylic, 24" x 30"
Courtesy of Jaime Harter
This is the second in the "Art" series, the first of which is on the cover of his book "Chuck Baird, 35 Plates." These are crisp
illustrations, seemingly drawn in mid-air, of the sign for "artist," a concept that is essential to Chuck. "Art is my whole life. When I sign 'art', a ray of light represents the ray of
Hope. Those flying objects in front of myself represent my various mediums." In the first painting, the sign is seen from the viewpoint of the signer/artist, but in the present work, it is seen from the
viewpoint of the receptor/viewer.
Crocodile Dundee, 1992
Acrylic, 24" x 30"
Courtesy of DawnSignPress
crocodile's huge, fearsome jaws, a pair of arms lies directly beneath them, parodying their drawbridge motion. (DSP)
In my whimsical world, if the magic Australian
wildlife guide, Dundee himself as Deaf, he would spoof the visitors, appearing in underwater below the jaws rendering as if it's own reflection on the surface of the water off the shore. I am sure that Australian Sign
language has the same sign as ours for the creation.
The Detour, 1992
Acrylic, 29" x 21"
From the collection of Ray Parks, Jr., Arizona
Those of us who are Deaf in a hearing world
know that we are constantly diverted to side roads on our journeys, forced to ask for accomodations and services that are often denied us. Unlike our hearing counterparts, we cannot take for granted a direct route
to our destination. The sign's bright orange contrasts with the bleak grays of the archway into which we must venture. That the actual model for this was a federal building in Louisville, Kentucky, is
also significant. The government can be more of an enemy than a friend.
Grant Thy Spirit, 1999
Oil on canvas, framed with feathers, 24''w x 36''h
"This is a portrait of Danny Lucero standing and
holding his own personal blessing feather with his finger and thumb in the handshape 'F' for feather and spirit. While I am not a scholar and am not certain of the symbology, I like the sense of 'spirit' that
appears to be signed in the way Danny moves the feather. The background of this painting is a sunset view of a locale called the 'Valley of the Gods' in the southeastern corner of Utah. Danny is an acquaintance of
mine who is part Navajo. I may have some Native American blood in me, and this is part of the reason I feel Danny and I hit it off from the beginning. I have been to Sedona, AZ, every summer for 10 years,
and the history and culture of the Native American peoples of that region have made a deep impression on me."
Mixed media, 14" x 17"
"This work incorporates one of my
own chest x-rays, with two thin painted pieces of wood and oil paint on two pieces of wood sculptures with handshapes for 'heart' glued on a thin piece of wood cut out to show the movement of the sign."
My Supt., 1993
Acrylic, 21" x 29"
Courtesy of DawnSignPress
An affectionate tribute through architecture rather than portraiture, this painting of the Kansas School for the Deaf's Stanley D. Roth
Administration building, with its plays on light and shadow and it is simple plaque, is a reminder of the lasting influence of one superintendent (known as "Supt." in ASL) of a school for the deaf.
On the Border, 1989
Acrylic, 84" x 28"
From the collection of Tina Jo Breindel, California
From left to right, the eyes grow warmer in shading and color, alluding to the gradual change from the
coldness of the hearing culture to the warmth of deaf culture.
Why Me?, 1973
Acrylic, 26" x 26"
From the collection of Nancy Frishberg, California
This painting attacks the bondage imposed on
Deaf schoolchildren who were forced to learn to speak - badly - and not allowed to sign. These children often wound up "oral failures," their education crippled because learning was neglected
in favor of speech training.
Thin wires run down each mouth to the chin, suggesting marionettes controlled by an unseen hand. This painting owes much to Dr. Miller's justifiably angry works.Irene Bartok
Divine Power, 1996
Photograph, 18" x 20"
"I took this picture of a carved stone door knocker in the shape of a hand near Major Lake in northern Italy. It influenced the way I see things in my life. It made me
look back on my childhood: I was born deaf and as a child, I had a very frustrating period growing up.
"This stone door knocker, set against a stone door, has connotations of 'Eternity.' In the form of a
woman's hand, it is symbolic of a 'mother,' an Angel of Good from whom anyone who knocks at this door will receive a roof over their head, food to satisfy their hunger, and a bed to rest. The ring on her middle
finger has a universal meaning - love from the heart. The ball that the hand is holding represents a world, a universe that the hand is always in touch with.
"The hand also represents our language, and it
is ironic that this hand-shaped door knocker is set in stone, which calls to mind the phrase 'stone-deaf.' If my hands don't exist, then I become helpless as an artist. This hand has a seemingly divine power in
which all these elements come marvelously together. This is proof of how powerful a hand can give me as a Deaf individual and artist."Uzi Buzgalo
Color in Wind, 1997
Acrylic on paper, 30" x 35"
When he was young, the artist enjoyed watching clothes drying on the line as the wind gently blew them to and fro. Their movement created colorful patterns and schema
which, for the artist, was like music. In this scene, the Deaf person composes his signed language flowing inside his torso that represents his innate language process. It reciprocates into the full sky of language
Hard Move, 1999
Acrylic on paper, 32" x 39"
This woman involved in ASL movement struggles to
move forward with hard climate of ignorance, politics, and resistance. The sheet representing paradise of ASL is held waiting for more acceptance and integration of ASL community or possible recourse for survival.
I Want to Ride, 1997
Acrylic on paper, 33" x 38"
A Deaf child reaches out his hands as an indication of his desire to embrace signed language and culture, symbolized by the carousel. The colors surround the child represent
oral and auditory methods of instruction which deter the youth from language acquisition and a healthy cultural interface. The triangle depicts a child, his parents, and the pathology that revolves in the cycle of
In the Light, 1997
Acrylic on paper, 30" x 40"
The bird represents universal language that comes through visual and auditory means as shown in color dots, waves, and music. The Deaf man brings signed language into the light
by shifting his foot down into the brightness. A figure behind a mask seeks to understand the colorful signed language as it unfolds and expands in richness. The dim yellow light shining upon the bird represents
enlightenment through the acquisition of language and knowledge.
Long Night, 1997
Acrylic on paper, 29" x 36"
Two Deaf people engage in deep conversation accidentally striking a glass through the description
of their tale. In the background, hearing people converse unhindered by a flower standing between their faces; others listen rather closely in the dark. The Deaf individuals choose to sit in bright light. The upper
composition depicts the visual static running through conscious memory.
Masks made by
the students at the California School for the Deaf, Fremont were on display at the 1999 Exhibit. These are described by the student artists themselves, whose names and birth years are also given, but with no
additional biographical data.
9 masks, approximately 9" x 10" each
Yekaterina Belorusets, b. 1979
"I was born in Russia. The black side of my mask shows the frustration of not understanding my
family and being isolated from other deaf people. The white side of my face shows the freedom and happiness I feel now that I'm able to learn and communicate. I feel free."
Jenamarie Daviton-Sciandra, b.1981
"My mask resembles how I feel as a hard of hearing person. It also resembles how I feel about my life. The knots symbol the confusion that I struggle to understand. No one can understand what it's like to be able
to hear and speak and not hear and not speak. Only people who are hard of hearing can understand how it feels to be in two worlds; that I don't feel 100% part of either world. This is me as a hard of hearing person and
just as a person alone."
Carlos Diaz, b.1979
"The mask is gold because the Deaf are #1. The xx over the mouth means I can't speak. The metal plates over the ears means I can't hear. The brain shows that
by learning to communicate, the light finally goes on."
Jan Epitacio, b. 1981
"One ear is covered with a metal plate…I can't hear. I put a zipper on my mouth-the hand in the wave is pulling it shut. The
water represents silence and the need to use sign language. My larger than normal eyes are happy when I see sign language!"
Laben Hur, b.1980
"I remember when I was a kid I told my mother I wanted to go
to a Deaf church. I attended my parents' church, but I didn't understand what was said. I longed to go to the Deaf church. Now I can go to a Deaf Church and understand it all because of ASL."
Tim Lopez, b.1981
"The American Flag stands for freedom and equality. With ASL the deaf are now free to be themsleves and can do everything other people can do but hear."
Bekah Mandel, b. 1984
"I wanted my mask to
symbolize two worlds; the hearing world and the deaf world. I live in both worlds, the deaf world because I am deaf, and the hearing world because my family and the rest of the world is hearing. Day and night fit best
for this theme. The words that are secretly written on the mask relate to the issue of two worlds. For example, "A ray of sunlight gives the star its twinkle." " A starry night gives you the warmth of the
day." I believe these show that there is always some kind of connection between these two worlds like a bridge.
Ronz Ian Reasol, b. 1979
"The puzzle pieces show the frustration of not understanding what's
going on…not being able to communicate with my family. The upper person is making fun of me—in my old mainstream program—because they didn't understand the deaf. The shadow of the hand goes both ways—I'm pushing others
out and they're oppressing me. I don't want my tears of frustration show. The piece on my mouth shows me trying to understand lipreading. Puzzle pieces at my ears shows my lack of hearing."
Meuy Saelee, b. 1980
James R. Canning
"The face is behind the door. I am wanting to be out to experience new things but I am Deaf and not allowed to go out. I am discriminated against because I am deaf. The hand won't let me communicate and be
free. I'm still frustrated with my family. Tears show that."
Oil, 32" x 42"
"This painting probably represents my feelings about deafness more than any other work I
have done. There is obvious symbolism in the closed window through which the little boy can see but not hear, see fascinating things he can never reach because the window can never be opened. ... The boy is
about the same age as I was when I became deaf, which is eight.
"The title of the painting refers to a form of religious music which I have no memory of ever hearing. A close friend who saw the work when it
was nearly done, remarked it 'made him feel like a Bach Cantata.'"
The Temptation of St. Jim, ca. 1986
Oil, 41.5" x 55.5"
"This painting was intended to permit an outburst of
feelings of frustration and confinement. At the time I painted it I was having serious troubles with a chronic health problem. Look over the painting awhile and find the little image that represents reality,
myself brushing an annoying branch away from my face. Reality has been almost overwhelmed by danger and anxiety. The symbolism implies a threat to the mind (birdlike thing), body (white beast emerging from
belly) and soul (self-worshipful monkish figure on the right).
"Some people feel the gesture of the right hand near the ear shows an effort to hear something ... This was never once in my mind during the entire
time I worked on this picture. As I saw it, my hand is attempting to brush the bird's wing away, to prevent the wing from blindfolding me.
"I never thought of deafness while working on this picture."
Deaf Like You, 1998
Plaster of Paris,14" h x 12" w x 7" d
This work is one of 8 small pieces that Mr. Carroll created specifically for DEAFESTIVAL '98, a major arts festival in Louisville,
KY. The idea for this work came to him a few years earlier in a conversation with some friends. A Deaf man who was just beginning to realize his true identity used the phrase "Deaf like you" and
that remark brought to the artist's mind a large mural at Gallaudet University created by Chuck Baird. In the spring of 1998, Mr. Carroll embodied this idea in the form of a plaster sculpture.Connie M. Clanton
Expression of Hands
Intaglio, 14" w x14" h
The background is blue and purple and contains golden writing. The larger hand is offering support to the smaller hand. The hands in black express a poem by the
artist's daughter, Natalie Denise Clanton:
"Sign Language is wonderful. It is a wonderful way to express yourself with your hands. I couldn't imagine a world without speaking hands. Just imagine a world without
hands that can express themselves with the help of us. It is a great way to show how you feel without using your voice."
Deaf Woman, 1998
Intaglio, 14" w x14" h
The woman, shown in profile,
is from the past and shows how far we have come. The words "deaf woman" are written vertically on the lower left of the subject's body.
Cherish ASL, 1996
Intaglio,14" w x14" h
wanted to express how we do value our language and communication. The meaning of this work is obvious - two hands signing and fingerspelling 'Cherish ASL'."
Collogragh, 11" w x 9" h
"These hands are parts of a community that shares many things."
Talking Hands, 1998
Collogragh, 11" w x 9" h
"The spiral on the hands gives off a spiritual feeling that is long
lasting. I enjoy drawing hands expressing thoughts and feelings."Randy Dunham
Shedding onto the Stones, 1989
Pastel, 23" x 20"
From the collection of David Curry, New York
"Outside of the water drop there
is no availability of convenience as there is inside. Same idea as people's lives: some who stand outside of the water drop have a less convenient time than inside people. Deaf people have a more difficult
time getting what they want than Hearing people."Susan Dupor
Bite the cord that feeds you, vortex and duel, triptych, 1995
Oil on masonite, right and left: 6" x 7.5", center: 11" x 14"
shows multiple views of a rebellious deaf grade school girl destroying body style hearing aids. It may be true that many D/deaf can recall a childhood event in which they consciously or subconsciously tried to reduce
the power of their hearing aids that the hearing authorities have applied to their bodies like "harnesses."
Child and TTY, 1997
Embroidery, 10 ½" w x 11" h
"A couple of years ago,
I worked as teacher at a summer camp for deaf children. The youngest camper was an adorable but mischievous five-year-old from a hearing family. One lesson was to introduce the TTY to the younger deaf
students, and for this I used the camp's compact portable TTY. This boy was fascinated with the TTY, and I believe this was probably his first encounter with the device. He formed the phone handshape and
acted out putting the phone on the TTY. He seemed to know how important it is to be able to communicate with the world around him."
Oil on canvas, 36" w x 27" h
"This painting is about the emergence of the bilingual and bicultural philosophy in Deaf Education. Here, two young deaf women are shown conversing in American Sign Language, while formal rules of English
grammar - verb tenses, sentence structures, and the like - are printed across the canvas. Educators and activists who advocate bilingual-bicultural education are trying to that deaf people can master two
languages, ASL and English."
Deaf American, 1989
Oil on canvas, 30" x 42"
From the collection of Susan Schatz
This painting deals with the issue of choices. In the United
States, a Deaf person is free to employ devices like hearing aids or to undergo operations like cochlear implants that may improve hearing, providing one can afford such means. The question posed in this
picture concerns the tradeoffs between cultural identity, pride, and assimilation. The person portrayed is representative of the most common age at which a decision is made as to which means will be used to
communicate for the rest of one's life.
Delavan, Wisconsin, 1891, 1999
Oil on masonite, diptych, 13" x 9.25"
is a homage to deaf children who attended the Wisconsin School for the Deaf before the 1900s. Also, the painting is open to any interpretation as there are symbols at display within the diptych.
Oil, six panels 9" w x 71/4" h
"Zoology has always been my passion. I find
it heartbreaking that numerous species are endangered due to human encroachment and exploitation. The evolution of primates fascinates me because they are the closet cousins of ours in the Animal Kingdom. In
this series I examined the remarkably diverse hand forms that are a result of Natural Selection. Like the other primates, we humans use our hands endlessly, and hands are the primary tools of communication for
Family Dog, 1991
Acrylic, 61" x 58"
This is expressive of feelings typical to isolated Deaf children living with non-Signing hearing families. The faces of the other
members of the family are blurred, which likens the experience of lipreading to the experience of listening to a TV program disrupted by static. The deaf child, who wears hearing aids, is likened to a family pet
that is patted on the head while being told "Good girl, good girl."
Glenna and Nike, triptych, 1994
Oil on masonite, right and left: 24" x 14", center: 24" x 13"
independent deaf woman is about to learn from her hearing dog that there is a message from afar. The artist has long been fascinated by the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets visible in the rural area where she lives in
upper state New York. The silhouette of telephone poles stands out to signify the power of man's creation and his constant ability to fix the negative side effects of his inventions. This painting reminds us that the
invention of the telephone left the D/deaf feeling cheated by their inability to use them until they eventually were able to utilize enabling tools, such as TTYs and hearing dogs."
I Interesting Hamster
Mixed Media, 48" x 48"
The juxtaposition of the hamsters and the deaf students is a metaphor of the experience of the "caged" environment of mainstreamed deaf students' self-contained
classrooms. The use of the label "Hearing Impaired" introduces one of the critical issues in education of the deaf, because of the artist's belief that the term "Hearing Impaired" is a pathological
disorder label in mainstreamed schools. Deaf students' audiological and speech development are stressed in their education. The flowers in the background, although not the varieties normally seen at a wake, are symbolic
Acrylic, ink on cereal box and masonite, 20" x 30"
(Originally with red latchhook rug frame)
This work, an experimental piece, arose from an accident when Ms.
Dupor's cat knocked over a cereal bowl at breakfast one day. The emotions she felt at the time are conveyed visually, with the depicted person signing and the Rice Krispies character interpreting in word
balloons. The signs represented express feelings to which probably everyone can relate.
A Lesson, 1999
Embroidery, 12 ½" w x 9 3/4" h
A "Deaf can do it" reminder to deaf
students in a hearing dominated world. The word "can" is made into a pun.
Oil, 27 ½" w x 23 ½" h
"This is a memoir painting about irony. Deaf children in
the 'mainstream setting' public schools I attended were expected to attend music classes. One frequent activity was playing musical chairs. The lights were switched on and off simultaneously as the music was
played on and off. There was a lot of excitement in playing this game although the music was not relevant."
Oil, 27" w x 19" h
"An adolescent girl signs 'I Love
You' to herself. The mirror image is symbolic of Narcissus, who in Greek mythology falls in love with himself upon seeing his reflection in a pool of water and is subsequently turned into a flower."
Narcissus and Swallows, 1999
Oil on masonite, 32" x 21"
A continued painting exploration of the original painting,
PL 94 - 142, 1991
Oil, 33" x 36"
Here, two deaf adolescents are
shown changing their clothes in the locker rooms of a public school, to which they were admitted after the passage of the "mainstreaming law." Public Law 94-142 in the early 1970s mandated but did not
define a "least restrictive environment". The deaf subjects are shown wearing body hearing aids. In the background, other students are giving these deaf subjects unwanted attention, and they are
shameful, trying to hide their faces.
Oil on masonite, 32" x 16"
"Men in many cultures use language - Sign language included - to degrade women, who they perceive as merely sex
Rape and Her Little Bambis, 1990
Acrylic on canvas, 42" x 46"
From the collection of Bobbi Zehner
This painting, like Deaf American, deals with the choices necessary to Deaf
Americans, but here the decisions are being made for the subject by others. The subject is trapped in a childlike state, victim of a situation not of her choosing. The forced installation of hearing aids is
seen as analogous to forcible rape.
Oil on Canvas, 30" x 29"
The artist recalls that when she was in a mainstreamed elementary school, many of her deaf classmates lived far
away Susan "Vito" Dupor, continued which reduced her ability to socialize with them after school and over the weekends. The "Deaf Child" signs are posted in areas where deaf children live to
warn drivers who would otherwise be unaware that the children in the vicinity might be deaf; Deafness is an "invisible" condition.
Oil on masonite, 6" w x 7" h
"Speech Therapy is often one component of a deaf or hard of hearing child's individual educational plan (IEP). The outcome sought is the ability to speak clearly and correctly. For some children, these
classes are a complete waste of time, but others manage to develop some skill. One of the drills in my speech class was to get the 's' sound right. We were given circular paper things to put on the tip of
our tongues to help us form the 's' sound."
Transportation Hub, 1995
Oil on masonite, Diptych 10 ½" x 8 ½"
"This diptych is an analogy of prostitutes and ABC card peddlers who are often
seen in metropolitan areas. When I was living in Chicago, I traveled around the city by public transportation and would occasionally encounter a peddler trying to sell ABC cards to the passengers. It made me
uncomfortable because many other Deaf people were trying hard to prove themselves as equals to hearing people in the hearing world. At the same time the painting is a reminder that there is a social issue that needs to
To Have/To Find, 1991
16-mm transferred to VHS format, 5 minutes
This is an animation of the artist's personal story about dreams and confidence, with her dog, Lucky.
Acrylic on masonite, 60" x 48"
This piece, with its skeletons and marigolds, is open to a variety of interpretations. It implies something very basic about the similarities and differences
between the Deaf and the hearing. The skeletons may represent the effect of deprival of Deaf Culture, if one has not been exposed to it at an early age.Lee S. Ivey
New Cycle, 1992
Oil on Canvas Board, 20.25" x 28"
(Courtesy of Betty G. Miller)
The oil painting of a long tree-like branch which includes fingers, hand and ear indicating her experience of life as a Deaf woman. At
the top of the branch is a new green leaf, which indicates the beginning of another life, a new cycle, and expresses her continuing pride in being a Deaf woman artist.Paul Johnston
Paper, 16" w x 15" h
"This is a visual learner, depending on visual language seen through the true eye."
Energy of Language, 1998
Watercolor, 26" x 34"
"How hearing Deaf communicators develop their own language in space and time."
Paper, 24" w x 24" h
"One noble image is a visual musical instrument inside the arm using the communicative hand."
Paper, 14" w x 35" h
"One artistic image is a visual musical instrument inside the arm using the communicative hand."
Poetic Hand I, 1998
Watercolor, 22" x 29"
(Courtesy of Clayton Valli)
"One energetic image is a visual musical instrument inside the arm using the communicative hand."
Poetic Hand II, 1998
Watercolor, 22" x 29"
(Courtesy of Betty G. Miller)
"One soul image is a visual musical instrument inside the arm using the communicative hand."
Watercolor, 22" w x 29" h
"This work is based on the stylized expressive and experience parts of the
communication in the body soul."
Structure II, 1998
Watercolor, 22" w x 29" h
"How a group of signing hands work together."
Theory of Language, 1998
Watercolor, 26" x 34"
"How the Deaf communicator thinks and visualizes in his/her mind when processing language."
Unity of Communication, 1998
Watercolor, 29" w x 22"h
"Each visual communicator shares visual information and language."
Thad C. Martin
Articulatus (Read My Lips), 1994
Ceramic, 34" x 78" x 48" (Six-piece collection)
It is a composition of heads, the details of which are named after primal sounds. The relationships within it tell a wordless story of a deaf experience: from an awakening to
one's sense of self, through a struggle for footing in the hearing world, to an affirmation of one's wholeness and an acceptance of the journey to come.
relates on many levels. As a whole, it represents a tale: it begins with the head "ooo." representing the point of embarkation with complete and serene acceptance of one's deafness, showing enthusiasm and anticipation
with none of the negative connotations imposed by society. The next head, "ahh." represents a deaf person in the greater world, whose struggles in that world are neither heard nor comprehended. The next 4 heads, "err."
"ege." "mmm…" and "ugh..," tell, respectively, of the retreat into oneself in the face of the inherent limitations to the deaf in the hearing world, of the realization that one is facing a problem, and looking for an
answer, of coming into awareness that there is nothing wrong with oneself, that there problem is out there and one is whole, and of a brave but perturbed outlook on the journey ahead.
There is a grouping within the
work in which the shorter heads, "ahh." "err..," and "ugh..," represent a person's outward workings, and the taller heads, ooo..," "ege..," and "mmm..," represent a person's inward workings. There are three mutual
pairings between these groups, "ahh…" with "ooo…." "err..." with "ege." "uhh…" with "mmm…" Each pairing is dynamic and reciprocal, reflecting an outward manifestation of an inward state of mind and vice versa. Further,
in the naming of each individual head, the title morpheme was chosen as a metaphor for the inward experience or affliction each head displays.
Articulatus, detail, "ooo", 1994
Ceramic, 30" x 22" x 8"
Articulatus, detail, "ahh", 1994
Ceramic, 36" x 20" x 20"
Articulatus, detail, "err", 1994
Ceramic, 28" x 22" x 11"
Articulatus, detail, "ege", 1994
Ceramic, 34" x 23" x 8"
Articulatus, detail, "mmm", 1994
Ceramic, 32" x 27" x 10"
Articulatus, detail, "uhhh", 1994Tony Landon McGregor
Ceramic, 27" x 18" x 13"
ASL Eagle Over Hands Monument, 1999
Mixed media (Watercolor and Ink) 20" w x 24" h
This mixed media painting depicts an eagle, formed from multiple images of the ASL eagle sign, soaring over the
southwestern country (monoliths looking like hands surrounded by desert mountains and canyons). The proud Deaf American eagle is beginning to show its true colors and is unafraid of expressing itself in ASL.
The artistic concept is that the eagle is free from oppression and is soaring high due to society's growing acceptance of ASL.
ASLized Mimbres Fish, 1995
Woodburned Gourd Art, 13" h x 11" d
Classic southwestern images from the Mimbres culture and "sleeping beauty" turquoise stones adorn this large lidded gourd bowl in an imaginative juxtaposition of two cultures, Deaf and southwestern Pueblo
Indian. Creating a new frontier in De'VIA art, the American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "fish" is blended with a stylized Mimbres (ancient Southwestern Indian tribe) fish image. This new style
appears in many of Tony's gourd artworks as well as drawings, prints, and paintings. Tony's woodburned gourds with ASL/Native American motifs are probably the first artworks to incorporate De'VIA symbolism into a
specifically southwestern art form.
Native American Deaf Experiences, 1999
Mixed Media (woodburned gourd w/inlaid turquoise stone), 9.5" h x 13" d
This mixed media artwork consists of the 26
alphabet signs that overlap with many classic southwestern Pueblo Indian animal images from New Mexico and Arizona. One large circular design includes the famed San Ildefenso Pueblo feather designs and a water
serpent, while three smaller circular designs illustrate the artist's sentiments about marvels such as the Rancho de Taos Church, the Taos Pueblo and Monument Valley. The checkered band between the circular
designs is characteristic of the Santo Domingo Indian style.
Southwestern Fishes, 1999
Wood-burned gourd, 9" x 12.5"
Classic southwestern images from several Indian cultures adorn this hollow large vase-shaped woodburned gourd bowl. An imaginative juxtaposition of two cultures, Deaf and
Southwestern Pueblo Indian, creates a new frontier in De'VIA art; the whole fingerspelled sign for "fish" is blended spirally with a variety of stylized ancient Southwestern Indian tribe fish images. This new style
emerges in many of Tony's gourd artworks as well as drawings, prints, and paintings. Tony's woodburned gourds with ASL/Native American motifs are probably the first artworks to branch out De'VIA to Southwestern De'VIA.
Three Southwestern Signs, 1999
Wood-burned gourd, 18" x 12.5"
Twenty-six alphabet signs blended with three ASL signs (butterfly, fish and bird) and classic southwestern images dominate the whole woodburned giant gourd bowl. An inlaid
"sleeping beauty" turquoise stone-eyed water serpent interweaves the top part of the gourd bowl. This giant gourd is the largest Tony has ever worked on since he first started working with this medium. Similar gourds
were featured at the Deaf Studies VI Conference Deaf Artists' Exhibit in Oakland, California last spring.
Betty G. Miller
Ameslan Flag, 1974
Acrylic/Mixed Media, 23" h x 40" w x 4" d
This is an American flag painted in acrylics on canvas on wood, with Dr. Miller's revised version of the national anthem "Oh, Can't You See...?"
using stick-on letters, and relief shapes of ears on the red-white stripes. The "stars" on the blue square shape of the flag are all eye buttons. It stresses the oppression that kept Ameslan (now
called ASL) nrecognized as the natural visual language of the deaf.
Ameslan Prohibited, 1972
Ink on paper, 23" x 15"
Courtesy of Sandi Inches Vasnick
This drawing of hands with chains on wrists, and fingers chopped off depicting that Ameslan or sign language is prohibited to be used in many schools for the deaf.
Bah, Bah Black Sheep, 1984
Acrylic, 11.5" x 13.5"
This picture represents a speech therapist
pressuring a deaf child to speak. The child tries, for the sake of the parents and the teachers, and to be accepted into the hearing world. The speech therapist makes an encouraging comment,
"Hurrah! Hurrah! Your speech is good!" which is likely to give the deaf child false hopes of being able to communicate in the hearing world.
Bell School, 1944, 1972
Oil/mixed media, 36" x 36"
Courtesy of Tom Humphries
This painting of a group of deaf and hard of hearing children as
pupils of an oral school for the deaf with almost no eyes indicating that the emphasis by this school was on speech, hearing aids and lipreading. The large hands indicate a desire to use forbidden sign language, being
left unused like the eyes.
Neon, 42" x 32"
The hands are shaped into a
sign for butterfly, demonstrating the wings in motion, complete with the antennas and the tail, celebrating the beauty of sign language.
Hearing Qualifications Test, 1990
Neon, mixed media, 34.5" x 44.5"
This is a parody of the audiogram administered to every Deaf child in schools for the Deaf. Different entries record the emphasis on the pathological and medical
perspectives on deafness, which stress the use of residual hearing, no matter how little.
While this is not necessarily every hearing person's view, it clearly states the artist's opinion of how hard it is for Deaf
people to fit in the hearing world. She is saying that it is better to keep your cultural identity as a Deaf person rather than try to "pass" as a hearing person.
Hot Dog, Ice Cream, Baz Bawl
Brush & Ink/Watercolor, 28" x 20"
This picture is one of a pair that represent a dialogue between the much hated speech therapist and the mind of the deaf child during one of those endless
speech lessons. Hot Dog, Ice Cream, Baz Bawl represents words typical of those practiced in a speech lesson, probably during a sound discrimination test.
Learning Speech, 1986
Brush & Ink/Watercolor, 28" x 20"
These two pictures represent a dialogue between the much hated speech therapist and the
mind of the deaf child during one of those endless speech lessons. Hot Dog, Ice Cream, Baz Bawl represents words typical of those practiced in a speech lesson, probably during a sound discrimination test, similar
to the words below the drawing in Learning Speech.
Mirror, Mirror, 1986
Brush & Ink/Watercolor, 28" x 20"
This work, again, has cultural oppression as its theme. The artist takes from the Snow White story the magical mirror that answered the wicked Queen's question:
"Who is the fairest of them all?" and twists the question into "Who is the most oppressed of them all?' The multiple answers, mispronounced, are "Gallaudet," "Deaf people,"
"ASL," and "visual abilities."
Read My Lips, 1986
Brush & Ink/Watercolor, 28" x 20"
Loaned by Nancy V. Becker, Winchester, MA
This represents a parody of a hearing
person, who could be a speech therapist, trying to coax a deaf person into trying to lipread. The exaggerated lip movements give the hearing person a clownish appearance.
A Tribute to a Deaf Artist, 1999
Neon/Acrylic/Mixed Media, 21" h x 31" w
This work is a collage of photocopied pieces of Harry Williams' work, with other materials and acrylic painting plus a few pieces of neon lights on the
canvas. It is a tribute to the many young visual deaf artists who have passed away from terminal diseases before their work could reach a peak of excellence or gain them recognition of their professional talents.
TTY Call, 1997
Neon Assemblage, 21" w x 21" d and 26 " h, old TTY, hand/phone /half - figure
This is an assemblage of an old TTY, painted orange and with the stick-on letters GA and SK on the
TTY's readout line, which is lit up by a neon light. In addition, on the back of the TTY is a half figure piece in a collage and surrounded by a swirl of blue and purple neon light. There are also pieces of
curled neon lights on each side of the TTY. On the keyboard of the TTY is a hand, placed as typing a TTY message.
The artist's choice of a bust of the robot character 3CPO from the Star Wars films generated
lively discussions among viewers and guides alike. This character 3CPO functions as an interpreter and protocol specialist, able to communicate in thousands languages, and this seems an excellent analogy for a relay
operator transmitting voice and TTY messages between deaf and hearing people. Visitors asked whether the artist had consciously selected this character for that purpose, but when the artist was asked the reasons behind
her choice, she stated that she had chosen the figure on impulse. This is an example of how people can read into things more than the artist intended. The work remains a striking example of Deaf artists' portrayals of
technology in a positive way. In the late sixties and early seventies, when the TTY was new, it was a major breakthrough for deaf people, making it possible for them to communicate over the phone for the first time.
This had a profound impact on Deaf people's interactions with each other.
Acrylic/Mixed Media, 32.5" x 34.5"
This is a portrait of a person, almost certainly deaf, with an
enlarged ear and surrounded by cochleas, hearing aids, and other devices. It clearly stresses a pathological view of deafness. The wires running through the hands may be the artist's way of saying that one must
choose between the pathological approach and one's Deaf Identity.Ralph R. Miller
Deaf Picnic, Austin, Texas, 1977
Acrylic on canvas, 32.5" x 34.5"
(Courtesy of Betty G. Miller)
This work "...depicted a typical
Deaf Picnic that took place in a country location in Austin, Texas. Furthermore, most of the figures using ASL are recognized and understood, shown with humor and tendencies of human behavior."