The Story of My World

Maryam Hafizirad

2020. Glazed ceramic, each approximately 9 x 5 x 3 inches.

This work references Hafizirad’s journey as a deaf adult into signed language after a childhood in which she was trained to communicate through oral and aural language. In Hafizi’s narration of the meaning of the piece, she describes the gold plating on the fingers as some of the hands as referencing the preciousness and magic of signed communication. Her journey of coming to signed language as an adult describes one that many deaf people raised with oral education go through. The myriad shapes of the ceramic hands set in relief shapes of negative space. The property of ceramic – at once solid and delicate – seems to suggest the fleeting nature of language, and its persistent ways of staying with us. The work, understood here in the context of Crip Ritual, suggests that accessing the deaf community through signed language is a ritual process that carries Hafizi into a new life phase.

Hafizirad further shares:

“Deaf people have vibrant colourful lives expressed through our signing. When you enter a room and see the flurry of signs – that is our colourful life. Growing up in Iran I was forbidden to sign and raised orally. When I moved to Canada I was exposed to American Sign Language and became immersed in the sign language of my people and found my identity as a Deaf women. Now I am in the centre of my vibrant community. I wish others to see what I see – the richness and beauty of our signs and lives.”

Video of Maryam Hafizirad’s Artist Statement in ASL (Open Captioned and Audio Described)

Collection of ceramic hands in different bright colours and gold accents.

Written Image Description:

Aerial view of large handshapes relates my life story.

Blue ceramic hand in an ASL open 8 handshape. The middle finger is painted gold.

Written Image Description:

The ASL open 8 handshape. Fingers and thumb are spread with the middle finger bent at base joint and all other fingers open.

Red ceramic hand in an ASL flat 9/flat F handshape. The index finger and the thumb are painted gold.

Written Image Description:

Handshape -Ceramic glazed flat 9/ flat F handshape. Thumb pad touches pad of index finger, forming a long tear drop shape.

Yellow ceramic hand in an ASL S handshape. The thumb is painted gold with the paint dripping down the side of the wrist.

Written Image Description:

The ASL “S” handshape – early experimentation with closed ceramic glazed.

Installation view of works by Maryam Hafizirad at Tangled Art+Disability. Photograph by Michelle Peek Photography*.

Written Image Description:

Five multicoloured ceramic-glazed handshape placed on individual black shelves, mounted to a white wall. On the right-most side of the installation, there is a sixth ceramic-glazed handshape on a large white display-stand. From left to right, the colors of the handshape are: yellow, light blue with gold accents, dark blue with gold accents, red with gold accents, black with gold accents, and yellow with orange and brown accents.

Installation view of works by Maryam Hafizirad at Tangled Art+Disability. Photograph by Michelle Peek Photography*.

Written Image Description:

A person wearing a white sweater and beige hat is facing a yellow and orange ceramic-glazed handshape. The person has extended out their pointer finger on their right hand, and is touching the handshape with it.

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