'Deaf Shame to Deaf Same': Art exhibit aims to destigmatize hearing loss
A new art exhibit at the George Bothwell Library is hoping to examine and remove the feeling of shame associated with people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Students in Winston Knoll’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) program helped create the art installation “Deaf Shame to Deaf Same.”
Different dioramas illustrate the students’ collective experiences with isolation, bullying, humiliation and challenges with communication and acceptance due to their hearing loss.
The stories for the installation are based on personal narratives from the students.
The exhibit was made up of different dioramas representing the DHH students experiences within school. (Allison Bamford/CTV News Regina)
“I’ve often felt a lot of shame because in my past it was quite traumatic, going to school and even at home,” said Grade 11 student Amna Warda Wahid.
“A lot of people would bully me because I was deaf.”
Warda Wahid said she used to identify as a hearing person before she entered the DHH program.
Her experience is quite common among DHH students, according to Michelle Grodecki, certified teacher for the deaf.
“Many times students say, ‘I can’t do it, I’m stupid,’” Grodecki said.
“But it’s not that they’re stupid, they just don’t have the access.”
Six students from Winston Knoll's DHH program helped create the dioramas at the centre of the exhibit. (Allison Bamford/CTV News Regina)
Yamama Alrweilei, a Grade 11 student in the DHH program, struggled in “mainstream classrooms” without an interpreter.
“I didn’t understand a lot of what the teacher was saying, people talk very fast and I was missing a lot,” Alrweilei said.
Through the DHH program supports and interpreter, she said she can now understand the lessons.
Grodecki said hearing loss needs to be normalized in society and in the classroom. If that happens, she said, bilingual education and supports of all modalities will be widely accepted.
For now, she said the goal of the art exhibit has been achieved, and her students have accepted themselves and their identity.
“For each of our students to stand in front of an audience and proudly say, ‘I am hard of hearing. I am deaf. I wear my hearing aids. I have my confidence back,’ I would confidently say we’ve achieved our goal,” Grodecki said.
The exhibit is a collaboration between the DHH program, SKArts and Deaf Crows Collective.
From Deaf Shame to Deaf Same will be on display in the Creation Cube at the George Bothwell Library until June 25.
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