De’VIA Motifs J-O

Jester/Harlequin

Meaning: a trickster figure; someone who is not to be trusted. Can also mean a fool or a gullible person.

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

Examples: Victim at Oral School by Darlene Weir and Starkey Circus by Ellen Mansfield. (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2016] Challenge, Day 19).

Explanation: motif explained by Ellen Mansfield

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Ladder

Meaning: Ladders can symbolize ways into the Deaf community, climbing upward as progress/higher levels of consciousness. With ladders, climbing downward carries a negative implication, back to old ways. [Based on the ASL poem, Black Hole: Colors ASL by Debbie Rennie].

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

Examples: Black Hole: Color ASL by Ellen Mansfield and No Job Promotion for Deaf by Takiyah Harris. (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 14).

Explanation: motif explained by Christine Parrotte

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Lantern

Meaning: Lanterns represent light, hope, and searching for truth.  Lanterns use light to show the way, leading to the right path. (other related motifs: light, lightbulb, lamps, and truth seekers).

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

Examples: The Three Truth Seekers by Nancy Rourke and In Search of Deafhood by Paul Scearce (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2016] Challenge, Day 8)

Explanation: motif explained by Scotty Zwicker

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Light Bulb

Meaning: Light bulbs represent light, hope, seeing/vision (a strong Deaf cultural value), and understanding. (other related motifs: light and lamps).

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

Examples: Hungry Eyes by Ellen Mansfield and Veditz’s Light Bulbs by David Call. (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 2)

Explanation: motif explained by Tiffany Hoglind

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Lock

Meaning:  Locks are symbols that refer to being/feeling trapped or limited.  They communicate something hidden away or unknown.

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

Examples: Inner Deaf Soul Locked Up by David Call and Innocent Deaf Prisoner by Ellen Mansfield  (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 7)

Explanation: motif explained by Christine Parrotte

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Mask

Meaning: Masks symbolize hypocrites, inauthenticity, and being two-faced. It can refer to secrets that are hidden and also refers to the mask of benevolence (see footnote 3).

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

Examples: School Dayz by Patti Durr and Deaf Shame by Darlene Buzzelli Weir. (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 18).

Explanation: motif explained by Emily Blachly

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Maze

Meaning: Mazes communicate confusion, repetition and hopelessness.  They can represent the feeling of being stuck with no where to go.

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

Examples: Stairs to Nowhere by David Call, Deaf Education Pinball by Paul Johnston  (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2016] Challenge, Day 7

Explanation: motif explained by Tullos Horn

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Mirror

Meaning: Mirrors represent views of one’s own reality vs society’s reality.  They can represent the concepts of being two faced or the idea of having a two way mirror.  Mirrors also reflect the real people hiding behind the mask of benevolence (see footnote 3).

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

Examples: Untitled by Laurie Rose Monahan and Looking Glass Self Howl by Patti Durr. (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 5

Explanation: motif explained by Takiyah Harris

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Mother of All Deaf Souls

Meaning: The Mother of All Deaf Souls delivers Deaf babies into the DEAF WORLD.  She is a nurturer and protector of future generations.  She symbolizes unconditional love and the natural growth of the Deaf Community.

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

ExamplesThe Destiny by David Call and Root of your soul by Patti Durr (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2016] Challenge, Day 20.

Explanation: motif explained by David Call

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Mountain

Meaning: Mountains symbolize the strength and survival of the Deaf community and Deaf culture standing strong against the “waves of oralism.” (based on a quote from Paddy Ladd).[19]

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

Examples: Coming Home Mural by various artists and Veditz Building the Mountain by Patti Durr.

Explanation: motif explained by Michelle Mansfield-Hom

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Mouth

Meaning: Mouths represent the dominant Hearing culture/spoken language, speech therapy, and oralism (including oral/aural methods). (related motifs, ears, puppets)

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

Examples: No Say It With Your Hands by Betty G. Miller[20] and Untitled by Brenda Pond. Also see Chuck Baird’s Why Me?[21]

Explanation: motif explained by Tullos Horn

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Musical Instruments

Meaning: Musical instruments often communicate the Hearing Cultural value of music and sound (in contrast to the Deaf Cultural value of visual art and sight). Deaf artists often use musical instruments to show how vision is ‘music to our eyes.’  Violins are sometimes used to pay tribute to Harry R Williams, a Deaf artist who used violins often in his work (often without strings).

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

Examples: Music for the Eyes by Chuck Baird and A Violin becomes an artist by Harry R. Williams. (also see the 2nd Wave De’VIA mural).

Explanation: motif explained by Terry Stewart

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Nails/ Screws

Meaning: Nails and screws often represent the destruction of the Deaf community, Deaf identity, and natural language. Nails and screws communicate pain and may be used as a wake-up call.

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

Examples: The Crucifixion of Sign Language by David Call and Untitled by Patti Durr. (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 21)

Explanation: motif explained by Tullos Horn

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Nature

Meaning: Nature is often used to show that being Deaf is a natural phenomena with historical roots and need for future growth. It can also be used to show how Hearing culture views Deaf people as “weeds” or parts of nature that should be controlled or eliminated. (see also the related motif of Dandelions).

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

Examples: Tree Affirmative by Takiyah Harris and Beckoning by Susan Dupor[22].

Explanation: motif explained by Michelle Manfield-Hom

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Nest

Meaning: A nest is a  nurturing Deaf space. It represents a community protecting, sheltering and fostering a future generation.

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

Examples: Our Precious Nest by Nancy Rourke and Martha’s Vineyard, Mother Nest by David Call.

Explanation: motif explained by Mary Cregan

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Deaf View/Image Art for schools

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