The world is what they see and for the hearing impaired the sense of sight seems to take on deeper significance and adds another dimension to compensate for their lack of hearing.
That is the impression one gets after looking at the paintings in Eyes Empowered, an art exhibition that was exhibited in Bangalore recently after being organised twice in Kathmandu with the works of young deaf artists from India and Nepal. It is the brainchild of Sarah Giri, an activist who has worked with the deaf in Kathmandu and Bangalore, where she is now based.
Giri is the chairperson of the Nepal-Indo Deaf Art and Culture Society which organised the exhibition tour that was hosted recently at Bangalore's Leela Palace. Says Giri: "The deaf are a cultural and linguistic minority, this is the first time in India that deaf artists from the two countries are coming together under one roof. It forces us all to walk the talk on social inclusion."
Giri is also a faculty at the Indus Business Academy where she teaches managerial communication. She is a sign language expert and has made a documentary for the deaf in sign language. She organised the first two Eyes Empowered exhibition in Kathmandu in 2010 and 2011 in which 32 deaf artists from India and Nepal took part.
"My years with the deaf have enriched my own life, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually," says Giri, "reaching out to touch their lives is a small way to say thank you."
During the Bangalore exhibition, six artists sold 60 of their works and the proceeds encouraged them to make art a source of livelihood. Giri has also got an order for 16 large murals for a hotel in India which want their murals to be done by deaf artists after a consultant for the hotel visited the exhibition.
Deaf like me, MARCUS BENIGNO