In 1910 George Veditz*, addressing the Ninth Convention of the American National Association of the Deaf and the Third World Congress of the Deaf, described sign language people as “people of the eye”. He knew a thing or two. Despite 21st Century discourses, for most contemporary sign language people this remains a more precise description than any that involve lack, loss, disability or the practices of medicine.
Visual artists are also ‘people of the eye’. Although they are not defined by a biological imperative (nor subject to medical interference), they nonetheless tend to be people who think, process and conceptualise the world visually.
What better name, then, for the loose collective of sign poets and visual artists I have been gathering together since my last blog post. (Did you miss me? Go on, say you did.)
The People of The Eye so far consist of four esteemed sign poets: John Wilson, Donna Williams, Paul Scott and Richard Carter and a growing number of visual artists working in various media (including sound). Those engaged so far are listed below, each charged with creating a visual response to one of the poems created and selected by the poets. Their response may be to content, form or any other aspect.
We will be communicating across an internet platform; discussing, questioning and creating and are hoping to collectively blog to the wider artworld.
It’s been a lot of work putting it together, but everyone has responded so enthusiastically to the idea that it has also been a great honour.
We’re all very excited about what might emerge, and the mutual understandings these two tribes of visual peoples might find. We’ll keep you posted.
The work of the poets can be seen at:- http://www.bris.ac.uk/education/research/sites/micsl/poem-repository/
So far the artists are:-
Trina Bohan-Tyrie: www.trinagallery.com (website launching soon)
Jackie Calderwood: www.jackiecalderwood.com
Howard Hardiman: www.howardhardiman.com
Eliza Kesuma: www.moodymonday.co.uk
Tamarin Norwood: www.tamarinnorwood.co.uk
Kyra Pollitt: www.kyrapollitt.com (website launching soon)
Bob Quinn: www.bobquinn.ie
The Rutterfords (Chris and Fiona): www.chrisrutterford.com
Melanie Sangwine: www.sangwine.co.uk
Mairi Taylor: www.mairitaylor.co.uk
Fliss Watts: www.watermellon.co.uk
Tom White: www.tomwhitesound.com
*President of the National Association of the Deaf in the U.S. (1861- 1937)