The Curfman Gallery displays new exhibit focusing on the deaf experience

Ashley Potts and Ashley Potts

The Curfman Gallery in the Lory Student Center debuted their newest exhibit this month. The exhibit features art from the De’VIA movement or Deaf View/Image Art. This type of art seeks to express the experience of being deaf and explore social issues dealt with by the deaf and people in their lives.

“De’VIA art can be categorized as resistive and affirmative,” according to the Curfman Gallery’s information sheet. “Resistive Deaf art centers on exposing systems of suppression and oppression of the Deaf. Affirmative art features themes of empowerment, American Sign Language, affiliation with the Deaf community and culture, acculturation, and Deafhood.”

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Resources for Disabled Students and the LSC Arts Program collaborated with Colorado De’VIA and the VSA Colorado/Access Gallery – a nonprofit organization that brings access and experience in the arts to people with disabilities – to bring this all together.

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Photo credit: Natalie Dyer

“The Curfman Gallery is thrilled to explore the themes within this artistic movement and house the works of these three exceptional De’VIA artists,” according to the Curfman Gallery’s information sheet.

The featured artists are Uzi Buzgalo, a deaf Israeli artist, Tony Fowler, a deaf artist who currently lives in Colorado, and Nancy Rourke, a deaf artist from San Diego. All the artists have their own take on Deaf culture and their own unique way of expressing it through art.

Buzgalu’s works that are featured in the exhibition focus on portraits of famous Deaf and Hard of Hearing figures from history, such as Beethoven and Thomas Edison.

“I offer my own historical accounts as a deaf Jewish person growing up in Israel and several countries with exposure to different signed languages and cultures,” said Buzgalu in his artist statement.

Fowler’s work is more surreal and illusionistic. He works in digital media and conceptual art.

“Some of his work conveys his sensitivity about how the larger society, the people who hear and perceive hearing impairment or any facet of deaf culture,” said Flower’s artist statement.

Rourke’s work seeks to make a political statement and educate.

“I capture today’s society that needed attention because it is long overdue,” said Rourke’s artist statement. “I paint how Deaf people have been controlled by predominantly audist environments.”

The works were brought together by Damon McLeese. McLeese is the Executive Director of Access Gallery/VSA arts of Colorado and served as the guest curator for the exhibition.

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“Under his leadership, VSA arts of Colorado has continued to promote the creative power of people with disabilities through focused outreach and innovative programming,” according to the Curfman Gallery’s information sheet. “Several of the programs Damon has implemented have been used as national models.”

The work will be displayed in the gallery through Feb. 1.

For more information on exhibits in the Curfman Gallery, go to lsc.colostate.edu, and for more information on VSA Colorado and the Access Gallery, go to accessgallery.org.