Deaf West is partnering with artists Christine Sun Kim and Ravi Vasavan of deafpower.me to create limited edition enamel pins inspired by Deaf culture. The collaboration celebrates more than 30 years of Deaf West bringing accessibility to the arts by creating work that bridges the gap between Deaf and hearing audiences and celebrating the diverse Deaf identities that make up our community.
Both Deaf West and deafpower.me aim to promote the history, languages, and values of Deaf communities all over the world and spread our cultural pride.
This campaign focuses on increasing employment and training opportunities for the Deaf community, and empowering Deaf youth by creating and supporting initiatives that remove barriers to the entertainment industry at every level of creation. This means:
Employing Deaf creatives
Providing education for Deaf youth
Telling authentic stories
Fighting for representation
By doing this, we are igniting change for 1.3 billion disabled people around the world.
All proceeds will go directly to Deaf West so that we can continue the important work of new play development, multimedia productions, workshops, professional training, educational programs, and community outreach, with constantly expanding efforts in diversity, innovation, accessibility, and advocacy.
Product photography by David Benthal
About the Designs
This new variation on Deaf West's iconic hand-drawn logo which has been the symbol of the company since its inception more than 30 years ago represents the sleek professionalism and the gold standard of accessible entertainment audiences have come to expect from us.
The <0/ symbol is based on the written form of Deaf Power, which is signed with an open palm over an ear and with other hand forming a closed fist in the air. The earliest use of the symbol was amongst Deaf Americans, written to iconify the signed version.
This illustration of a TTY is a special device that allowed people in the pre-internet era to use the telephone to communicate by allowing them to type messages back and forth to one another. The button is representative of the advancements and achievements in technology that characterize the communication modes we have adopted over the years.
This phrase is not signed, but mouthed silently to others. When Deaf people peep something and do not want to draw attention to themselves, they will mouth “look look”. This design also recalls the acute awareness Deaf people have of the periphery of their vision. out of the corner of their eyes.
This unique take on the ASL sign for “I love you” is an iteration of the universally recognized sign. The sign for “I love you” is a combination of the finger spelled letters I, L and Y.
About the Artists
Christine Sun Kim
Christine Sun Kim is an American sound artist based in Berlin, Germany. Kim was born Deaf, which led her to focus her artistic career on exploring the materiality of sound through various mediums such as visual art, composition, performance, and more. Her work dives into the sensory-rich process of connecting sound to drawing, painting, etc, as she was taught to believe that sound wasn’t a part of her life. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and her body of work proves that.
Christine Sun Kim uses the medium of sound in performance and drawing to investigate her relationship with spoken languages and her aural environment. What Kim has done is essentially created her own language. One that incorporates elements of body language, American Sign Language (ASL), musical notation, and more. Her works explore how sound operates in society, and how to make audible noise perceivable both visually and conceptually.
Ravi Vasavan is an artist and designer. Creating beautiful, unique and impactful art, brand and digital experiences for the new era.
Born deaf to Deaf parents, Ravi grew up in Australia immersed in Deaf community, which has influenced his perspective and worldview. He knew two sign languages before English. You could say that Auslan (Australian Sign Language) is his ‘mother tongue’ — or perhaps ‘fingers’? (Semantics.)
Being visually oriented by nature, he was attracted to art and design early on, which led to his current career and practice. In his work, he is able to bring a Deaf perspective, particularly when it comes to (often hearing-oriented) accessibility, inclusivity and strategic thinking in art and design.
DEAF WEST THEATRE
Founded in Los Angeles in 1991, Tony Award®-winning Deaf West Theatre (Artistic Director, DJ Kurs), engages artists and audiences in unparalleled theater experiences inspired by Deaf culture and the expressive power of sign language, weaving American Sign Language (ASL) with spoken English to create a seamless ballet of movement and voice. Committed to innovation, collaboration, and training, Deaf West Theatre is the artistic bridge between the Deaf and hearing worlds and a trusted resource for authentic storytelling and casting in film, television, and video projects. Projects include: A fresh and thrilling new adaptation of Oedipus at The Getty Villa, the groundbreaking production of Fidelio with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel; The Solid of Life of Sugar Water by Jack Thorne; Our Town, in a co-production with the Pasadena Playhouse; Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo, in a co-production with the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts; Spring Awakening the Musical, which transferred from Inner-City Arts to the Wallis and then to Broadway (three Tony Award® nominations including Best Revival of a Musical); American Buffalo (Los Angeles Times “Critic’s Choice”); Cyrano, a co-production with the Fountain Theatre (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production); Big River the Musical (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and Backstage Garland awards for Best Musical in its L.A. premiere, a Tony Award® nomination, and four Drama Desk Awards on Broadway); Pippin, produced at the Mark Taper Forum in a co-production with Center Theatre Group; Sleeping Beauty Wakes, also a co-production with Center Theatre Group, presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre; Oliver! (Ovation Award for Best Musical) and A Streetcar Named Desire (Ovation Award for Best Play). In 2005, Deaf West Theatre was selected to receive the Highest Recognition Award by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for its “distinguished contributions to improve and enrich the culture lives of Deaf and hard of hearing actors and theater patrons.