De’VIA Motifs (A-C)

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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 [3]and Chuck Baird’s Art No. 2[4])

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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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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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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Deaf View/Image Art for schools

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