Thursday, April 3, 2008

Art viewed from the deaf perspective

The Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise reports on an innovative art exhibit at Lamar University, "Deaf Artists in the Community & Schools," which showcases 40 pieces of artwork ranging from realistic to abstract. And the Deaf Education department at Lamar also hosted a bi-cultural analysis of the art, from the perspectives of both hearing and deaf students attending the exhibit.

"The art expresses values of deaf culture, including 'the beauty of sign language and its oppression, the joys of deaf bonding, communication breakdowns, the discovery of language, community, and the history of deaf people,'" Brenda Schertz, a deaf studies professor at the University of Southern Maine and a deaf art curator, said in The Enterprise story.

Lamar Deaf Education professor Jean Andrews and Lamar University Dishman Art Museum Director Lynne Lokensgard they are trying "to expand the reach of the deaf culture experience, but also encourage a greater focus on deaf art in deaf education."

"The deaf visual arts are a part of deaf culture," Andrews said. "Culture includes its history, literature, performing arts, dramatic arts. We want to teach our teachers how to incorporate deaf culture into the curriculum and what better way to do it than through deaf art?"

"The Art and Deaf Education departments will create an educational DVD about the artwork and artists for distribution to about 50 deaf schools nationwide, Andrews said. Students from both departments will interview the artists about their work."

You can see some of the artwork in a video on The Enterprise Web site.