Students from middle-high school collaborated with Access Gallery Lead Artist, Emily vonSwearingen and RMDS De’VIA/Art Teacher, Tiffany Hoglind to create De’VIA inspired, mixed-media artworks and corresponding videos explaining the artworks for an exhibition at Access Gallery in September. My students learned about the De’VIA (Deaf View Image Art) movement and explored symbolism related to the two defining categories: Affirmation and Resistance.
Affirmation: themes of empowerment, Sign Language, affiliation, acculturation, acceptance, Deafhood and other positive aspects of Deaf culture.
Resistance: themes of audism, oralism, mainstreaming, cochlear implants and other negative
and/or controversial issues of oppression and marginalization of the Deaf community.
My students re-interpreted these symbols into their own mixed-media, 3-D artworks; exploring art making through a variety of mediums including collage, painting, drawing, sewing, plaster casting, construction and assemblage with a variety of materials including wood, polymer clay, “shrinky dink” medium, armature wires, decorative papers, plaster, fabric/textiles, and modified objects. The artworks are “stories” that promote individual self-expression and explore personal issues such as isolation, gender identity, marginalization, discrimination, abuse, decision making, communication and how the Deaf community is viewed and treated. Each student also “taped” a short, digital video (up to one minute in length) for each of their artworks to describe in ASL (American Sign Language) their artwork titles, why they picked certain motifs, how the artwork relates to them personally, messaging to empower the Deaf community while educating the general public on Deafhood (subtitles included). The photos of the artworks and corresponding videos will be uploaded to a dedicated YouTube channel and during the exhibition at Access Gallery in September 2019, each artwork will include a QR square that can be scanned by viewers with their smart phones to link directly to each video.