De’VIA Motifs P-Z

Plague Doctor

Meaning: The motif of plague doctor, created by David Call, shows a bird-masked figure in black.  It represents an evil, dishonest person such as medical practitioners and eugenic scientists who have the desire to fix, change or wipe out Deaf people.

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

Examples: Eugenics President by David Call; False Prophet by David Call; Karl White the Eugenics Plague Doctor by David Call; Herr Doktor by heidi Storme.

Explanation:  motif explained by David Call

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Profit $

Meaning: The motif of profit is often represented by the dollar sign. It refers to systems that make money off of Deaf bodies or appropriation of Deaf capital (ie Hearing actors taking on the roles of Deaf people in film and on stage).

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

Examples: see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 9

Explanation:  motif explained by Tullos Horn

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Puppet

Meaning: Puppets symbolize Deaf individuals who have been colonized and are submissive/passive. The use of puppets indicate a Deaf person unable to stand for herself/himself and tend to copy the dominant culture behaviors and values. (related images include puppet mouths/ventriloquism).

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

Examples: Project Manipulation by Tony Fowler[23] and Dance Baby Dance…Run Baby Run by Patti Durr. (see also De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 23)

Explanation: motif explained by Takako Kerns

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Puzzle pieces/Jigsaw Puzzles

Meaning: Puzzle pieces as motifs often refer to something missing or something that is a mystery. It can symbolize disempowerment, but also sometimes symbolizes not fitting into the dominant culture expectations.

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

Examples: De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 11

Explanation:  motif explained by Tullos Horn

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Rope

Meaning: Ropes can be used a variety of ways in De’VIA works.  They can be used to represent a struggle or tug-of-war between two sides.  Ropes tie up hands and are used for nooses (hanging loops)

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

Examples: Deadlock by Chuck Baird, The Old Debate: Manualism vs Oralism by Nancy Rourke and De’VIA [Feb. 2016] Challenge, Day 11

Explanation: motif explained by Tullos Horn

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Round table

Meaning: Round tables symbolize Deaf space where Deaf people can sit and see each other. They also show the Deaf values of social gatherings and collectivism.

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

Examples: Isolation from the deaf children by Takiyah Harris and Picasso Project by 2015 De’VIA Curriculum teachers/artists. (also see Uzi Buzgalo’s Passover passed on with hands[24] and De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 28

Explanation: motif explained by Nancy Rourke

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Ruler

Meaning: Rulers symbolize denial of ASL as they were often used to punish Deaf children from signing.

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

Examples: Fist for Life by Jon Savage [25] and I Will Never Forget by Ellen Mansfield.[26]

Explanation: motif explained by Susan Dupor

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si5s/ASL sign writing

Meaning: Si5s and ASL sign writing are ways to represent ASL in written form.  This motif communicates pride in ASL and a wealth of knowledge that ASL has. (see related motif of ASL signs)

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

Examples: 300 Hands vs Empire of Oralism by Kyle Hoffer and Quadrilingualism by Hinda Kasher. See other works by Hinda Kasher (ASL is Children’s Human Right)[27] and Adrean Clark (Stop Talking About Us Without Us!)[28]

Explanation: Si5s motif explained by Hinda Kasher

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Solidarity Fist

Meaning: The image of a raised or clenched fist is a symbol of solidarity or collective action. Artivists/Activists that stand together communicate resistance and strength.

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

Examples: De’ARTIvists by Patti Durr and Solidarity by Nancy Rourke. (also see De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 24)

Explanation: motif explained by Tullos Horn

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Spiral

Meaning: Spirals are swirls, repeated circular shapes that often represent confusion or cochlear implants.  They can also be used to show dreaming or flowers.

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as resistance, but some symbols such as dreaming/flowers affirmative.

Examples: The Fibonacci Law by David Call the spiral that flows from our origins by Arnaud Balard  (also De’VIA [Feb. 2016] Challenge, Day 28)

Explanation: motif explained by Tiffany Hoglind

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Stars

Meaning: Stars represent visual beauty and light amid darkness. Stars also represent collectivism (see nature and other related motifs).

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

Examples: Star Maker by David Call and ASL Shadow Storyteller v 2. by Ellen Mansfield.

Explanation: motif explained by Michelle Mansfield-Hom

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Stream

Meaning:  A stream can represent smooth travel and navigation through the world without significant barriers.  The environment of streams and water represent places where Deaf people naturally fit and being able to hear is not an “advantage.”

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

Examples: De’Humankind by Ellen Mansfield and Stream of Consciousness by Susan Dupor[29].

Explanation: motif explained by Susan Dupor

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Sun

Meaning:  The sun represents a life giving force.  It communicates growth, light, and warmth. Suns can symbolize inspiration and passion.

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

Examples: ASL Shadow Storyteller by Ellen Mansfield; Forest of Eyeth by Paul Scearce.

Explanation: motif explained by Minja Jung

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Third Eye

Meaning:  The third eye represents intuitive/subconscious knowledge that Deaf people have collectively. It also communicates being able to perceive/see/understand beyond current time/space.

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

Examples: Suppression by Betty G. Miller[30] and Eye & 2 leaves by Janna Dahl[31]. Also see 2nd Wave De’VIA Mural (2013) by various artists[32]

Explanation: motif explained by Tullos Horn

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Treasure Box

Meaning: Treasure boxes or treasure chests contain valuable and cherished artifacts/items.   Treasure boxes may include things that have been put away by force, hidden or desired to be kept safe.

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

Examples: See the ASL poem “The Treasure” by Ella Mae Lentz also De’VIA [Feb. 2016] Challenge, Day 29

Explanation:  motif explained by Tullos Horn

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Tree

Meaning: Trees represent life as well as the history and roots of Deaf people and Deaf culture.

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

Examples: See also De’VIA [Feb. 2015] Challenge, Day 18

Explanation:  motif explained by Tullos Horn

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Triangle

Meaning: Triangles can represent strength, creativity, and harmony.  They are sometimes used as a simple representation of a mountain (see mountain motif) or as a nod to the De’VIA murals of 1989 and 2013.  As a symbol of resistance, triangles can show the institutionalized systems or places/organizations where Deaf people get lost or disappear from the DEAF WORLD (such as a Bermuda triangle).

Category: in general, works with this motif are categorized as affirmation works though more and more we also see it in resistance works.

Examples: De’VIA Curriculum Painting by Nancy Rourke and Bermuda Triangle of Oralism by Patti Durr.  Also see the 1989 De’VIA Mural and 2013 De’VIA mural.

Explanation: motif explained by Emily Blachly

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Wave

Meaning: In De’VIA works, waves often represent notable time period such as the dark ages and the second wave of oralism.  Literally, it is shown as a wave that engulfs Deaf people and the Deaf community through genocidal actions such as mainstreaming and medical ‘solutions/cures.’

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

Examples: Coalition Peak by Nancy Rourke and Untitled by heidi Storme.

Explanation: motif explained by Emily Blachly

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Window

Meaning: Windows, because they can be seen through, represent a lack of barriers. They are visual symbols and are passage ways/openings to Deaf spaces and the World.

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

Examples: Introspection I by Tony Folwer[33] and …And There Was Light by Patti Durr.

Explanation: motif explained by Susan Dupor

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Wind Up Key

Meaning:  Wind up keys tend to represent repetition and robotic actions.  The unseen hand doing the winding up is a powerful force acting upon a dominated being.

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

ExamplesMAMA, MAMA, MAMA by David Call and also De’VIA [Feb. 2016] Challenge, Day 15

Explanation: motif explained by Tullos Horn

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Zipper

Meaning:  Zippers are used to show silencing and suppression of truth.  Thoughts, hands/bodies, communication/language, and souls are zipped closed thorough colonization/oppression.  Open zippers can be shown as freeing oneself–being able to be authentic, sign freely, and speak one’s truth.

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

Examples: AG Bell’s Approval by Kat Brockway and Digitus Annularis by David Call [see also and also De’VIA [Feb. 2016] Challenge, Day 21

Explanation: motif explained by Scotty Zwicker

Deaf View/Image Art for schools

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