Mommy, I am Deaf!
I had wondered why no one’s bought the poster of “Mommy, I am Deaf!” for awhile. I checked the site, and the poster had somehow gotten cattywampus. So I took off all the old items and re-did them. This time, I used a good photo taken by a terrific, professional photographer– Mark Benjamin– after the show at NTID in Fall, 2008.
This painting, “Mommy, I am Deaf!” came out of Betty’s personal experience. Even though her parents were Deaf, she had two older brothers who were both hearing, and their first language was American Sign Language. Betty came along, the youngest child (and the only girl) and it was assumed — expected, even– that she was hearing the same as her brothers. Betty’s parents were not aware of her hearing loss until a few years later when she started school.
The news affected the whole family– brothers and grandparents, as well as her parents. Everyone was upset. Remember, this was in the late 1930s, and deaf people wanted hearing children (unlike today when deaf people welcome deaf children). Betty’s mom and dad didn’t want her to suffer from discrimination and lack of access to the world, as they had.
Actually hard of hearing until losing what was left due to a fever in her 50s, Betty struggled through much of her young life balancing between the Deaf World and the hearing one. This struggle, as well as what she observed of the lives of her parents and friends, became a recurring theme of her paintings.
Original For Sale: $2,750; posters for sale for much less!
This painting was shown twice, and the small art show in Manayunk, Philadelphia in 2006, and in the recent large retrospective at the Dyer Gallery at NTID, Rochester. Matted in purple and framed in black, the dimensions of this piece are 20 in. wide by 16 in. high; acrylic paint and collage on black posterboard. The original is for sale on our Etsy site: purpleswirl.etsy.com.
This image is also available as a poster (three different sizes) our Cafepress site: cafepress.com/purpleswirlarts.