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Nancy Rourke's Deaf Culture: Unity Of Global Signing

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Nancy Rourke, the painter of Deaf Culture: Unity of Global Signing, was born deaf and grew up in a world of oralism (Northen, Spindel). Oralism is when someone teaches a deaf person how to read lips and talk instead of teaching them to sign (Oralism). Rourke’s parents did not know she was deaf until she was about six years old but quit in 1986 to become a graphic designer. Twenty years later she was laid off and decided to begin painting again and took a couple of workshops to help prepare for the transition in her life. Her life transition did not begin until 2010 when she became involved in Deaf View / Image Art (De’VIA) and she began painting about her own experiences in the world of oralism (Rourke). Her painting, Deaf Culture: Unity of Global Signing, creates an image of problems within the deaf community…show more content…
All of her paintings show the power of audism and oralism, but this painting, in particular, shows unity through all. Each hand is a different color and each on represents a different race. The black hand represents African American, white represents Europeans, the yellow hands represent Asians, and the red hands represent Indians or Native Americans. One can tell that the hands represent a different race because of Earth is the background in the painting. The Earth and the different colors of the hands are different ways for the painter to show unity across all nations. Also, the colors within the painting mean something else to those of deaf culture. Rourke paints with primary colors and uses “…monochrome for reinforcement” (Rourke). She uses these elements because it attracts the attention of both the deaf and hearing society. Rourke has shared with society what every color and symbol means in her paintings. The hands represent deaf people and communication and all the cracks in the hand represent something that is disappearing and she is trying to warn those around
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