Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Zealand hosts its first Deaf Art Auction

Abbie Twiss

As part of The Deaf Association of New Zealand's Sign Language Week, New Zealand will host its first Deaf Art Auction, according to The New Zealand Herald. Artworks donated by deaf artists from around NZ are being sold to raise funds for deaf awareness, access and advancement.

Auction coordinator Abbie Twiss (pictured above), who has been deaf since she was three months old, says her artwork allows her to express herself in a different medium.

"It speaks for itself. It's about expression. I enjoy bringing colour and incorporating my imagination," she says. "I want people to see my art and make them think. To guess and figure it out; interpreting it in their own way."

The Herald reports that sign language was once banned in New Zealand schools and students were punished for using it. But it has been reintroduced in schools and is now one of the NZ's official languages.

Twiss says she wants to teach people about Deaf Art, which is different from ordinary art, in that it illustrates the symbolic use of hands and signs.

"Deaf Art is an expression of the art world. It has a lot to do with hands and signs, which is how we communicate," Twiss says.