This cubic-style painting, The Birth of A Deaf Baby/The Birth of a Deaf Mother is about a Deaf Woman who gives birth to a Deaf child, and thereby becomes a Deaf Mother. It was inspired by Betty G. Miller’s painting, Birth of a Deaf Woman. The word, DEAF appears in the painting.
The Deaf mother, lying on her back, holds out her hands welcoming a Deaf baby, making the sign for BORN. In the far right, near the tree is the Deaf baby—shown as fetal-like abstract form with a pink hand on its back. This fetal form represents cx-26 and cx-30 which are genetic markers for some born-Deaf infants. Additionally, its colorful form communicates a celebration of this new Deaf being. This Deaf child will grow up as a member of the Deaf community-- experiencing oppression by the dominant culture and learning how to resist it, as well as experiencing Deaf cultural affirmation and liberation.
The yellow and motif-colored sunray represents a fence. The fence motif communicates barriers and obstacles that Deaf people need to overcome during our walks through life to achieve our hopes and dreams. The yellow sunray communicates the emotions of delight, hope, pride and joy at the birth of a new Deaf life. The mosaic-colored parts of the sunray allude to the stained glass windows in Gallaudet’s Chapel Hall and represent the Deaf spaces in our lives.
In the bottom of the painting, there are seeds with eyes symbolizing the growth and roots of Deaf history. This idea is reinforced by the tree in the upper right, which can be seen as the tree of (Deaf) life. The elements of nature in the painting (trees, flowers, sun) convey that Deaf people and our sign languages are natural and contribute to the diversity of the world.
The word “DEAF” appears in this painting. Can you find it?
Birth of a Deaf Mother and Baby
Oil Painting, 30" x 40 " 2016. Displayed at Museum of Deaf History, Arts and Culture's Chuck Baird Gallery for 2 years. Sept. 2019 till Sept. 2021.