What is De’VIA

What Deaf View/Image Art De’VIA is and what it is not

What De’VIA is:

copy of the original De’VIA manifesto 1989 courtesy of Nancy Creighton

Deaf View/Image Art, also known as De’VIA, is art that examines and expresses the Deaf experience from a cultural, linguistic, and intersectional point of view. Deaf and Deaf-Blind people created works that reflected the Deaf experience long before the term Deaf View/Image Art was coined in 1989.  After De’VIA recognized as a genre of art,  scholars began to identify De’VIA themes, symbols and motifs.

De’VIA works can be recognized by the way they show the Deaf and Deaf-blind point of view via themes and motifs that represent life amongst Deaf and Deaf-blind people. Just as works about other disenfranchised groups (African-American, Native Americans, LGBTQ, etc)  challenge oppression and celebrate their culture, so too do Deaf and Deaf-blind artists.

– De’VIA is made when an artist INTENDS to express the Deaf experience in their artwork

– Did folks make De’VIA before the term was coined in 1989? YES – we can cite MANY examples of works expressing the Deaf experience before 1989.

– Does a De’VIA artist ONLY create De’VIA works? No, many artists who create a large body of De’VIA works also create non-De’VIA works

What De’VIA is NOT:

– De’VIA is NOT any visual art made by a Deaf person

– De’VIA is NOT limited to only Deaf artists

– De’VIA is NOT angry art – it is political art.  it has resistance and affirmation art and works that have both.  Works that show the evolution from resistance to freedom are liberation art and affirmative.  The creators of De’VIA works are not angry people but rather they are aware and awake.  Their resistance works illustrate that the oppressors are angry and unjust in their actions.

– De’VIA is NOT “pigeon holing” artists – De’VIA is not about being exclusionary or rigid but rather it is about being open and exposing the broader public to life among Deaf people while affirming Deaf culture and natural signed languages and resisting oppression

– De’VIA is NOT “post”De’VIA but it may be Metamodern Art


What is the difference between Deaf Art and De’VIA?

Deaf Art is a catch all phrase to mean art that has anything to do with Deaf folks – it can be art that has NO Deaf experience in it but is created by a Deaf artist and/or it can include artworks expressing the Deaf experience (De’VIA)

Can the De’VIA framework be applied to other genres?  Meaning can we examine specific plays, performances, English and ASL lit, and Deaf cinema that is INTENDED TO BE ABOUT the Deaf experience – surely and please doYES. See Arnaud Balard’s Surdism Manifesto and The HeART of Deaf Culture: Literary and Artistic Expressions of Deafhood (https://www.ntid.rit.edu/educational-materials/?controller=product&product_id=34)

What is the 2nd wave of De’VIA?

art movements go through waves. The first 20 years of De’VIA (1989-2009 was carried by a few strong De’VIA artists (Betty G. Miller, Chuck Baird, Guy Wonder, Susan Dupor, Harry Williams, Tony MacGregor, Ann Silver etc) with other artists coming and going. The 2nd Wave of De’VIA seemed to begin around 2009 when Nancy Rourke began to examine Deafhood and create Deaf-themed works and Arnaud Balard created his Surdism Manifesto without any knowledge of the De’VIA movement. David Call and Ellen Mansfield emerged to be strong ARTivists along with Nancy Rourke and many other artists have emerged to use De’VIA in the streets for activism.

what is the 2nd wave – its taking De’VIA from the galleries to the streets and its also calling upon the artists to lead the way in social change. ie 2nd Wave of De’VIA = ARTivism

Kansas De’VIA retreat powerpoint about the 2nd wave:  https://handeyes.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/devia-retreat-2013-for-webpdf.pdf)


ABC story spelling out De’VIA forward and back – performed by Christine Parrotte




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Deaf View/Image Art for schools

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