A deaf Leicester photographer has staged the first exhibition of its kind to showcase deaf achievements.
Deaf Mosaic, by Stephen Iliffe, has showcased deaf people’s achievements in all walks of life and celebrated Britain’s deaf community.
It was on display at London’s OXO Gallery last week, supported by the National Deaf Children’s Society.
The exhibition, which is described as ‘the first of its kind,’ featured portraits and brief biographies of deaf people in all walks of life, including artists, musicians – such as Dame Evelyn Glennie – a nurse, a politician, an asylum seeker, a model and a female rugby player.
It was devised to celebrate the diverse mosaic of ethnicity, class, religion, sexual orientation and different ways of life that make up the deaf community.
Stephen was born and grew up in Leicester, and is a photography graduate of De Montfort University, which he attended from 1981 to 1984.
He hopes his exhibition will serve not only to showcase deaf culture, but also to “challenge schools, colleges, universities, employers to see how just minor adaptations – like providing communication support or technical aids – can make a huge difference.”
“I grew up feeling as if I was the only deaf kid in the world, and was left to feel there were all kinds of jobs that I’d never be able to do,” said Mr Iliffe.
“While at university studying photography, I chanced across other deaf people. I began to understand that it is not deafness itself that disables people, but the barriers in society that stop us from achieving our dreams.
“By taking photographs to tell the stories of people who have highly skilled and demanding jobs, I want to inspire every deaf child to feel they too can fulfil their ambitions.
“And I want schools, colleges, universities and employers to realise that simple, minor adaptations can make a huge difference.”
Deaf artist Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq, who featured in one of the photographs, said: “What a fantastic opportunity to be part of Stephen’s collection! This exhibition shows that there are deaf people working on an equal level to their hearing peers. We still have a long way to go but this is a great step towards positivity.
“I hope this exhibition gives hearing people an understanding that achievements are possible if we have equal integration and continue to demand a good enough standard of education for deaf people, so they can meet their full potential.”
For more information about Deaf Mosaic, visit: https://deaf-mosaic.com/