De’VIA Motifs (A-C)

 

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American Flag

Meaning:  The American flag symbolizes the patriotic feelings toward the USA and the survival of the Deaf community and Deaf culture standing strong against the “waves of oralism.”  The flag  can also symbolize oppression and how long the Deaf community suffered from inequality.

Category: the motif is used in both affirmation and resistance works

ExamplesAmslan Flag by Betty G Miller (R), Merry Rowing in No Between by Ellen Mansfield, America The Beautiful by David Call, Two Hand American Sign Language Flag by Guy Wonder.

Explanation: motif explained by Amy Cohen Efron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ASL Signs

Meaning: ASL signs in artworks represent our language, a primary value of Deaf Americans. Use of signs communicate pride in our language and the rich knowledge we have via ASL.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as affirmation works

Examples: Rosie the Artivist by David Call and Untitled by Shawn Elfrink (also see Hinda Kasher’s TEACHER + SIGN LANGUAGE= Precious and Chuck Baird’s Art No. 2)

Explanation: motif explained by Emily Blachly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Banquet

Meaning: The motif of banquet in De’VIA art often refers to the Deaf Mute Banquets which took place beginning in France during the early 1800s.  The Deaf Mute Banquets were a celebration of Deaf culture, Deaf eloquence in presentations and storytelling. Important Deaf foreigners as well as Hearing people were invited to attend.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as affirmation works

Examples: Untitled (work with Deaf Banquet banner) by Yusuf Yahya and Untitled (banquet scene with artists and platform presenters) by Kathy Abraham.

Explanation: motif explained by Emily Blachly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AGB: Alexander Graham Bell

Meaning: AGB refers to Alexander Graham Bell, the “father of audism and oralism” in the U.S. He also represents eugenic efforts to reduce the Deaf population, the mask of benevolence[5], and other ideas associated with AGB (stealing the telephone patent, fear of a ‘deaf race,’ removing support for sign language, Deaf schools and Deaf teachers…etc). (see related motif Karl White)

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as resistance works

Examples: AGBAD Propaganda by Ellen Mansfield and Oral Mind Control by David Call (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 13)

Explanation: motif explained by Susan Dupor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bells

Meaning: Bells represent sound and the testing of hearing ability. Bells can be used to distract Hearing people and get their attention.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as resistance works

Examples: see Your Joy, My Pain by David Call and Cowbell Wristbands by Ellen Mansfield. Also see Liberation by Warren Miller[6]

Explanation: motif explained by Tullos Horn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baby or Child

Meaning: Babies symbolize the future and growth of the Deaf community, Deafhood journeys, life, nurturing/protection/comfort.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as affirmation works

Examples: Birth of a Deaf Soul by David Call and YOU- LUCKY, DEAF! by Ellen Mansfield (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 20)

Explanation: motif explained by Peggy Gelarde

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bird Cage

Meaning: Artwork with bird cages often communicate feeling limited, trapped, or held back–symbolizing feeling locked in either physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as resistance works

Examples: Caged by Noel King, bird cage by Winship Creation /Daniel Winship. (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2016] Challenge, Day 13)

Explanation: motif explained by Amy Cohen Efron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blood/Tear Drop

Meaning: Blood or tears (or drops of blood/tears) communicate struggle, pain and suffering  due to oppressive experiences in Deaf lives.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as resistance works

Examples: Oralism Hardship by Ellen Mansfield and It’s All Good by Nancy Rourke (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2016] Challenge, Day 9)

Explanation: motif explained by Peggy Gelaude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blue Tape

Meaning: Blue tape refers generally to audism and oppression. Something crossed out (eyes) and tied down (hands symbolizing oppression/prohibiting of ASL).

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as resistance works

Examples: Untitled by Yusuf Yahya and 12 in 1989 by Nancy Rourke (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 15)

Explanation: motif explained by Nancy Rourke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boat

Meaning: Boats as motifs (including sailboats, rowboats,and dingys) communicate a journey, destination or travel toward a goal.  This journey may bring natural sign language/Deaf people together or represents a community space;

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as affirmation works

Examples: Destiny by David Call and Our Deaf Life Arisen by Kathy Abraham

Explanation: motif explained by Emily Blachy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Body Hole

Meaning: The image of a body hole communicates a lack of identity as a Deaf person and a lack of feeling like a complete person. It communicates that the dominant culture has not allowed Deaf people to become fully realized human beings with access to ASL, Deaf culture and a DEAF WORLD view.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as resistance works

Examples: Oppression by Nancy Rourke and Deaf Disempowerment by Nancy Rourke

Explanation: motif explained by Nancy Rourke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brick

Meaning:  a thick wall that obstructs; a barrier or burden.

Category:  in general works using this motif tend to be resistance

Examples No Audism Period!  by Kathy Fisher-Abraham.  (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2017] Challenge, Day 26)

Explanation:  motif explained by Amy Cohen Efron

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Candle

Meaning: Candles are used to represent paying a tribute: to honor, remember, respect Deaf people, our ancestors, and our history. Candles represent light, hope, seeing/vision (a strong Deaf cultural value), and understanding.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as affirmation works

Examples: Joyful Dance by Takiyah Harris and A Candlelight in Honor…by Roberta Merrill (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 12)

Explanation: motif explained by Mindy Moore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chain

Meaning: Audism, colonializaton, and repression. Chained hands communicate prohibiting ASL.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as resistance works

Examples: Oral Hardship by Ellen Mansfield and Deaf DNA Eugenics by Hinda Kasher (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 1)

Explanation: motif explained by Bonnie Arnold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chair

Meaning: Chairs have a number of meanings in De’VIA art: isolation, passivity, emptiness, but also welcoming, collectivism.   Chairs can represent restrictive activity, places where Deaf children are forced into as well as a part of Deaf space (especially when used with round tables).

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as resistance works

Examples: Three White Chairs by Betty G. Miller[7] and The Hearing Test Room by Nancy Rourke. (also see Mary Rappazzo’s A Party of One [8])

Explanation: motif explained by Christine Parrotte

 

 

 

 

 

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Checkerboard

Meaning: Checkerboards symbolize repetition, patterns, cloning which communicates a nightmarish/crazy/maze-like feeling.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as resistance works

Examples: Which Identity? by Nancy Rourke and Hearing People, later called chatterbox by Diane A Squires (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 27)

Explanation: motif explained by Tullos Horn

 

 

 

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Clock

Meaning:  Clocks have many different meanings. Clocks can symbolize urgency or a sense that time is running out. However, they also can symbolize being stuck in time or wasting time/a lack of progress. If a clock has no hands, it can communicate a sense of timelessness or infinity. If a clock face is backward, it can mean confusion/distortion or can set the scene for a flashback. Clocks can be metaphors for life or death/beginnings or endings.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as resistance works

Examples: I will Never Forget by Ellen Mansfield, Gone with the Wind by Tony M. Fowler

Explanation: motif explained by Minja Jung

 

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