Friday, July 23, 2010

Sign Language Interpreter, Decision Portrait Series

(Above: Sign Language Interpreter, Decision Portrait Series. Stitched words: Communicating with the deaf. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand stitched. 25" x 19" unframed; 31" x 25" framed. Click on image to enlarge.)

The ability to express oneself, to communicate, is at the core of artistic expression. It is also a most basic human need. Most of us simply speak in order to relay our thoughts to others. Yet, talking relies on listening. Not everyone can hear.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing generally learn sign language. They learn to read lips too....but that requires face-to-face interaction. What happens in a crowd? At a meeting? At the theater? Well, Charlotte Toothman can tell two different languages.....spoken and as a sign language interpreter. She learned to communicate with the deaf. She learned to listen for those who cannot hear and to translate oral words into a language of understanding.

(Above: Sign Language Interpreter, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

Charlotte is also one of the co-founders of Stage Hands of the Bay Area in California. Stage Hands utilizes a team approach to interpreting theatrical performances and is proud that their efforts allow deaf audience members to enjoy the universality of theater, its nuances of character, its emotional pulse, and the sheer fun of it.

1 comment:

2smart said...

I have always thought that losing one's hearing must be so isolating. My late husband began to get really deaf as he aged and he cut himself off from so much interaction because he was reluctant to use his hearing aids. I have real admiration for people who sign etc.,
Thank you for your comments on my blog. I would love to meet up for coffee next time you are in Brum! You must be very proud of your dancer son, its so good that the ballet is based in Birmingham.