Title: Here You Are
Artist: Kelsie Grazier
Dates: September 7th – 27th, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 7th, 2019 from 6–8pm
Location: Downtown Cartems Donuts (534 W Pender St)
Kelsie Grazier is a visual artist based in Vancouver, BC. With an emphasis on gestural brush strokes and fine lines, Kelsie is painting to communicate the complexities of Deaf identity and cultural histories. She studied painting at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She obtained her Masters in Deaf Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and focused her research on global perceptions of Deaf identity. It was during this time that Kelsie, born with a mild hearing loss, suddenly became deaf. She returned to her art practice to explore her connection to a linguistic minority culture that is rooted in silence. Recently, she was an artist in residence in partnership with UBC and a local secondary school art program for two months focusing on a collaborative 30 ft mural.
As a Deaf artist, one of my primary focuses is the concept of identity relating to d/Deaf identity and culture. The research that sustains my artistic and theoretical practice is rooted in cultural constructions of deafness and contemporary diasporic experience. My work aims to reveal the isolation of deafness and the sound of tinnitus; a persistent phantom static and ring in the mind. It also addresses the experiences of feeling displaced, as if living within a culture without a country. I grew up understanding life as a hard of hearing person living in a hearing world. At twenty four years old, my hearing dropped from a mild to severe profound level and a shift in my identity occurred. I was thrown into a third space; not hearing, not hard of hearing and not Deaf. It felt as if I had migrated from my country to another with an unfamiliar culture and language. To reflect this, the paintings focus on gestural abstraction, with white space and loose painterly marks. To neutralize the ringing in my mind, the muted colour choices help to pare back the excess noise. The substrate, mylar, supports the calm and peaceful energy of the work giving it an ethereal quality. Though contemplating dualities of sound/silence and sign language/spoken language I have formed a visual vocabulary. Through this ongoing study of cultural identity and human rights of a linguistic minority, I analyze the realities of being a Deaf person in an aural society.
“So, here you are
too foreign for home
too foreign for here.
Never enough for both.”
― Ijeoma Umebinyuo