14 September 2023

Artist, William Maggs, Missed A Joke

Deaf artists from South Australia and Victoria will showcase pride in their own unique experiences as part of a new art exhibition at the University of South Australia.

The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre is presenting Deaf Gain in celebration of the local and national deaf community and in recognition of National Week of Deaf People from 18 to 24 September.

Adelaide artist and curator Williams Maggs says the display will empower more deaf artists to become expressive through art, as well as create important conversations about the future of the deaf community.

“Living as a deaf person can be quite exhausting, deaf people often have pent up anger or frustration and have no space to express themselves,” he says.

“I often feel like I am the only deaf artist in Adelaide, despite (the city) having a range of people who do different mediums, performances, and can express Auslan language.

“Picking up artists from Melbourne for Deaf Gain has given us the opportunity to meet other deaf artists and be empowered by their wealth of knowledge. This has reignited the light inside of me.”

The exhibition was created in collaboration with South Australian organisation The Deaf Butterfly Effect and features various mediums including sculptures, photography and paintings.

The artists include South Australians Scott Pyle and Melissa Keller (both Tutti Arts) as well as Samantha Wilson and William Maggs, Jas Shirrefs, Luke Duncan King, Gonketa, Chelle Destefano and Ravi Vasavan, who are from Victoria.

Maggs says he hopes Deaf Gain will bring the community together and create connections and social opportunities for deaf people.

“Ever since the deaf social club closed in South Australia, the community has no place to go to socialise and to make new friends,” he says.

“The deaf community fell apart into their own space or smaller social circles, with new NDIS businesses competing over deaf people.

“We are seen as a client rather than human beings, who absolutely need a deaf-friendly space. This art exhibition hopes to bring varying groups together and to create important conversations about the future of the deaf community.”

The Melbourne artists will visit Adelaide for special events during National Week of Deaf People, with several opportunities to meet and learn from them.

The free exhibition Deaf Gain is open weekdays until 27 September at the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery, Hawke Building Level 3, UniSA City West. For more information visit the Hawke Centre website.


Media contact: Melissa Keogh, UniSA Media Centre M: +61 403 659 154 E: Melissa.Keogh@unisa.edu.au

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