American Sign Language fair revealed the deaf’s struggle to be understood

Lorelei Streb, staff reported

The American Sign Language class hosted an art fair in the Student Activity Center, Oct. 28, according to Sign Language Instructor, Rosemarie Carsello. Beside each painting in the fair were two students, either level 3 or 4 in American Sign Language. One student signed the story behind their painting, and the other was interpreting what the student was signing.

According to Carsello, this was a culminating activity for the students after they spent six to eight weeks studying family and the impact hearing disabilities has on a family. Students got inspiration from movies, articles and poetry they studied in class, which focused on the struggles of having or being a deaf person in a family.

“Their summative assessment […] was to choose a perspective of a character that we’ve discussed or studied, and from that perspective, answer that question on how deafness affects that family,” Carsello said.

According to Carsello, the students created the art themselves, from specific aspects like color, to more broad ideas like theme. Carsello explains the process, including time to work during class, recording and presenting the presentation with their partner, and then displaying the paintings in the SAC. When doing this project, the students presented a unique message from each of their paintings.

Senior Nikki Gillani portrayed a painting from the perspective of a deaf boy’s younger brother. Gallani explained that although he was not deaf, he was affected by the fact that his older brother was.  

“A lot of times when the older sibling is deaf and the younger sibling is hearing, the younger sibling has to take on the role of the older sibling, and has to explain the hearing world, and explain all those different things that you can’t understand if you’re from somewhere else,” Gallani said.

Another ASL student, senior Lindsey Daul, shared a painting that showed a young, deaf girl who was mistreated by her father because she was unable to live up to his expectations. In her painting, she explained how the hand painted on the bottom of the painting was painted with dark colors, and colorful dots surrounding the hand represented the hearing world. The hand symbolized the deaf girl try to reach the hearing world. To her, the hearing world was a colorful, beautiful place that she wants to be a part of, but she can’t. Daul explains that she tried to show the gap between the hearing world and the deaf world.

“We were trying to send the messages of how hard it can be to be misunderstood, especially if you’re all alone,” Daul said. “Like a deaf person in the hearing world, there aren’t a lot of deaf people, and if they are not understood by the hearing people then their life can be really difficult.”