Imagine by Auslan, 2020, Digital video, 1:44 minutes
Deaf Voices: Audism, 2020, fabric, cotton and thread, 1.5 x 2.0 m

Chelle Destefano is a Deaf multi-medium and multi-disciplinary artist born in Melbourne who works across mediums including poetry, performance and textiles. She is currently studying a Masters of Contemporary Art at the Victorian College of the Arts. Destefano’s research explores the ongoing issues of oppression in the Deaf community, and her practice seeks to express the ideas of communication barriers between the Deaf and hearing communities.

Imagine by Auslan is a video performance of the artist’s hands signing the titular song. The work is a response to the controversy around Andy Dexterity, a hearing performer who sang the song Imagine in adapted Auslan on an episode of The Voice in May 2020. Through this video performance, Destefano aims to send a powerful message to audiences that the Auslan language deserves cultural respect and should not to be misused or appropriated. The video performance is accompanied by a textile poem about audism, which traces some of the historical roots of the discrimination and prejudice against the Deaf community.

www.chelledestefano.com |  @chelle_destefano_artist