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De’VIA Manifesto

  • By: Paul Johnston & Amy Stevens
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

The De’VIA Manifesto, written in 1989, refers to the genre, aesthetics, and theory of art created by the Deaf. It also makes a distinction between Deaf art and art created by someone who is Deaf. More than a quarter of a century later, how has art in the Deaf community been redefined, and what are its future challenges? To understand these questions, it is necessary to consider the history of De’VIA.

In 1989, nine Deaf artists gathered for a 4-day workshop to discuss how to define the works of Deaf artists. Painter Betty G. Miller and sculptor Paul Johnson led this volunteer group of fine artists, which also included art historian Deborah M. Sonnenstrahl, painters Chuck Baird and Alex Wilhite, sculptor Guy Wonder, fiber artists Nancy ...

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