When I was working on my vision for art on the walls at Mozzeria, I had set my mind on hiring talented Deaf artists to display their works. Most of the art work to date have been created and arranged by us, but we made an exception for this painting, “Mask of Benevolence”.
We are excited to display this painting by Nancy Rourke at Mozzeria. Nancy's art carries some prestige among the Deaf community. She studied graphic design and painting at the National Technical Institute of the Deaf and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York. Her passion for painting has followed her throughout her life and finally she decided to turn her passion for painting into a full-time job, De'Via work.
She received a grant to study, in recent years through painting, Deafhood, Deaf Culture, Audism, Deaf History, Deaf Politics, American Sign Language and Bilingualism. There is a story in each of her paintings. These stories are based on how she sees the impact, and influence, of political views within the Deaf Community.
My interpretation of the painting was that these people with X on their faces represented those who had children who were Deaf, and thought Deaf people couldn’t lead fulfilling lives. The girl who signed "Stop" was trying to tell everyone that we, Deaf people are fine and can do anything we wish to pursue. I would love to see this painting as inspiration to everyone that anyone can achieve anything they desire and put their minds on.
Nancy says the blue painter tape, showing as ‘X’, is a symbol that she uses in many of her paintings. She says it is “… a resistance remark to audism, oppression, crossed-out, tied down, trapped and masks. The idea of a painter’s blue tape came from the grassroot Deaf organization, Audism Free America.”
Come and check out Nancy's 'Mask of Benevolence' painting at Mozzeria. You can also view more of Nancy's work and paintings at www.nancyrourke.com.