In chapter 9, Thomas Holcomb discusses the challenges that the deaf community faces and how they use art to overcome them. Their art prominently features their methods of communication. The art of resistance, for example, portrays their oppression while the art of affirmation entails music, dance, painting, carving, and writing. It also includes ways of creating wealth and communicating with the world. Deaf people usually use visual art in communicating because they cannot speak. They have a strong visual ability, which compensates for their inability to hear. Deaf people use sign language in expressing themselves and sharing their oppression with their colleagues. Deaf artists also participate in general art and deaf experiences.
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Their art does not imply anything about deafness. It is understood by the deaf community while the deaf experience entails artworks that express the feelings and views associated with deafness. This category has artists who have been neglected in homes and schools. They, therefore, give their experiences and expect to join like-minded groups. As a result, scholars proposed deaf Image art to promote deaf art using images. Apart from being neglected and oppressed, deaf people improved their artistic nature and can celebrate their deaf lives by training in fields that can enable them to generate income through sign language, music, and painting. The deaf has also published books, even though some are never published.
James Yale, for example, wrote many books, yet he was untrained and isolated due to the lack of proper communication skills. Holcomb mentions several artists who have excelled more than trained European authors (184). The deaf Allen sisters, for example, had an outstanding photographic art that made them the best photographers in America. Most of the best artists were in general art, and they gained recognition from both the deaf and those who were not deaf. Granville Redmond was among the best landscape painters of the twentieth century. On the other hand, performing artists have produced items that include plays, music, and dances. Music has helped in reducing the gap between the deaf community and other people. It reflects their background information, including what they aspire to attain in the future, as a tool of entertainment and communication to the entire community.
The art by the deaf has strongly communicated to all people that being disabled does not make someone unable to perform some duties. The disabled community has at times done better than people who are not deaf. These outstanding performances have not come with ease, but hard work and determination of the deaf. Despite the oppression from the community, the deaf has used their talents to communicate and entertain people. These practices have earned them recognition, occupation, and have helped bridge the gap between the deaf community and other people. Deaf people believe that their relatives do not involve them in family affairs. They do not have the voice to speak, especially if they belong to families with hearing parents. This problem extends to schools where teachers do not recognize the deaf community (Holcomb 177). Learning is difficult because not all students have can use sign language, yet they have to learn together. This disparity leads to the development of deaf schools to take special care needed by the deaf community.
The hearing community should also learn how to use sign language so that they can use it as a communication tool. This language bridges the gap between the deaf and people who are not deaf. The deaf schools have been used to improve sign language that is used as a primary tool in developing talent and fighting oppression. Most deaf people have earned a living through art, thus, improved their lives. A good example of such people is Chuck Baird, who was a prolific performer (Holcomb 179). The deaf community requires recognition to improve their self-esteem. They use other parts of their bodies to pass their messages. They can enhance the reception of their messages by using interpreters, who bring out the positive aspect of the deaf culture. Deaf people should be looked at as able people who can turn around the economy of a nation if given the right training and information. The empowerment and acceptance of the deaf can reduce the resistance, which the deaf exhibit as a result of oppression. Thus, can enhance the affirmation, celebration, and acceptance of the deaf people community in society.
In conclusion, the deaf has faced extensive discrimination for a long time. Contrary to many people’s expectations, they have illuminated their present and future lives through art. Governments should support this artwork, especially in schools, to improve the situation of the deaf. It is through such schools that the deaf can acquire the necessary skills and further develop them, making themselves productive in society. This chapter shows how deaf people, whom most people consider handicapped, can use their artistic capabilities to make themselves useful to the community. It tries to show the oppression and separation that should not occur when interacting with the deaf. Society should treat deaf people in a way that makes them feel proud and accepted in the community. They should not regret being born deaf. Deaf schools are meant to bridge the gap between the deaf and other people in the community and improve the living standards of all deaf people through various arts.
Holcomb, Thomas. Introduction to American Deaf Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.