Deaf Art Movements: a brief timeline

Contributed by Adrean Clark (2017), et al.

Deaf art movement
Sketchbook by Adrean Clark, 2017.

Deaf Art Movement a.k.a. DAM (1960s-1979s): A general movement of deaf artists, regardless of cultural status.

Spectrum (1975-1980s): Deaf artist colony in Texas. More information:

De'VIA (1970-1989). Manifesto signed in July 1989 at the Deaf Way conference in Washington, D.C. Updated Statement of Philosophy signed in June 2016. Statement:

ASL translation on De'VIA.

De'VIA 2nd Generation (1990-): Artists working under the parameters of the De’VIA manifesto but not necessarily active in representing De’VIA.

Signing Community (2000- ): A concept that demonstrates that sign language speakers are connected through shared sign languages more than hearing status. Developed by Adrean and John Lee Clark through their publication The Tactile Mind: Literary Magazine of the Signing Community (The Tactile Mind Press). Also popularized through Marvin Miller and his Laurent town during the 2000's.

SIGNews (2003-2013): The SIGNews newspaper served the signing community and featured Deaf artists and artwork, especially comic art.

Surdism (2009- ): Art movement originating in France. French DeafBlind artist Arnaud Balard created his 'Surdism' manifesto and introduced it to the US De’Artivism group in 2014.

De'VIA 2nd Wave (2014): The loosely-connected group of people who participated in De'VIA 25th anniversary exhibits at Gallaudet University and RIT, plus the 2014 resurgence in the De’VIA Central Facebook group.

De'Artivism (related to Artivism): A segment of De’VIA emphasizing artivism and development of motifs related to Deaf cultural experience.

-Phonocentrism- Deconstruction (circa 2007. Coined and led by Jolanta Lapiak). Manifesto in 2013 at the Canadian Deaf artist forum hosted by Spill PROpogation, a Deaf artist-run organization. The term 'phonocentrism' has a strikethrough line across the word. Jolanta explains "Actually, it's not necessarily a Deaf art movement in particular but it can be a Deaf movement in general (beyond art) but it started in art.

Rourkeism (2012- ) A signature art style from Nancy Rourke that is strongly identified with De’Artivism.

ASLcentric art (2015-): An emergent movement exploring the ASL Deaf cultural identity through language analysis and art expression in various modalities. Coined by Adrean Clark.

Related posts

Related posts: De'VIA.

Resources on Deaf art.