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Exhibition: Deaf Eyes: Landscaping Sign Language, 22 April 2022 to 9 October 2022, Murlo, italy

Exhibition: Deaf Eyes: Landscaping Sign Language, 22 April 2022 to 9 October 2022, Murlo, italy

By Fondazione Musei SenesiFondazione Musei Senesi- IT,  22 April 2022 to 9 October 2022. Contactperson: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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22 April 2022 to 9 October 2022

Antiquarium of Poggio Civitate Archaeological Museum
Piazza della Cattedrale, 4 - 53016 Murlo, Italy

(translated from Italian with Google Translate)

The photographic exhibition opened on April 30 in Murlo, at the Etruscan Museum of Murlo, to enhance and tell the deaf culture. The exhibition followed a double track: on the one hand, in fact, the winning shots of the competition organized by the Fondazione Musei Senesi entitled "Deaf glances: panorama in Sign Language -  Deaf Eyes: Landscaping Sign Language"  were exhibited. 

On the other hand, it was possible to admire the personal exhibition of the internationally renowned photographer Daniele le Rose , within the evocative path “ Emotional Perspective Through The Eyes ”.

38 museo etrusco di murlo antiquarium di poggio civitate

The initiative is part of the Erasmus + “ Deaf Museums ” project, in which FMS has participated since 2020, dedicated to deaf culture.

The photographic exhibition of Daniele le Rose

The works were exhibited from 30 April to 9 October 2022. It was an opportunity to approach deaf culture thanks to the works of Daniele le Rose. Daniele is, in fact, one of the most successful professionals in his field. Following numerous experiences between Italy and the United States, he founded the “DeafMedia” to encourage and promote the cinematographic activity for Deaf people. 

He also has collaborations with various organizations: the National Deaf Organization - ENS for multimedia, the Mason Perkins Deafness Fund Association for educational multimedia material and the Austrian National Deaf Association for the production of educational and informative videos.

The photographer, who currently lives in Vienna, has agreed to exhibit his works in Murlo.

Having a developed sense of sight, I believe that photography is a valuable tool for seeing the world

His powerful and emotional shots combine technical skill, sensitivity and a certain taste for lines and image construction. The focus, of course, is on deaf culture and its expression. “An important element for me”, says Daniele, “is capturing Sign Language in motion . In this exhibition - Emotional Perspectives Through the Eyes - for example, there is a photo in which a person says: "Stop" in Sign Language. His eyes are perfectly aligned with his hands creating a perfect mix of linear and non-linear components thus generating a wider vision. Incorporating these elements helps to project the gaze towards specific parts of the photograph that tell a story that is often hidden at first sight ”.

In his black and white shots, Daniele combines linear compositions with curves and contrasts in the exhibition. The lens thus becomes a means to search for the invisible in ordinary scenes, triggering in the observer a relationship with respect to their own personal experiences.

 Deaf Glances: panorama in Sign Language

The second soul of the exhibition in Murlo is the exposure of the shots of the seven deaf photographers and photographers selected to tell how deafness moves their artistic expression. The protagonists will be Maria Panebianco (Catania, 1978), Corrado Pegoretti (Trento, 1973), Gaetano Rallo (Messina, 1975), Eleonora Rectors (Milan, 1986), Mirko Torresani (Milan, 1975) and Marco Verni (Rome, 1985).

For those with a developed sense of sight, in fact, photography is a precious tool for reading the world . What, then, is the emotional dimension that moves these shots? How much does deafness affect one's perception of reality? How is the legacy of deaf culture reinterpreted through the lens? In short, the selected artists gave visual answers to these questions. The exhibition of their photographs, therefore, is a counterbalance to Daniele Le Rose's personal exhibition, telling parallel and, at the same time, complementary stories.


  • "For many members of the Deaf community their shared history is both personal and social. Deaf people will have gone to the same school, in many cases boarding schools where most of their younger lives will have been spent together, and then met again at their Deaf clubs, Deaf social events, reunions and other more personal events.
    One of the first things a Deaf person will often ask on meeting, before asking your name, is what school or Deaf club you go to. Making this connection is an important part of any greeting, as it will then help an individual to understand what shared history or people in common you may have."
    from: The Cultural Model of Deafness
  • "Museums can increase our sense of wellbeing, help us feel proud of where we have come from, and inspire, challenge and stimulate us."
    Source: https://www.museumsassociation.org/campaigns/museums-change-lives/
  • "Inclusion is moving from “we tolerate your presence” to “we WANT you here with us”.
    Jillian Enright in The Social Model of Disability, 2021
  • "It was only during the past decade that recognition of the importance of preserving Deaf history has emerged. In the main, Deaf heritage, culture and folklore has been passed down from generation to generation via the medium of sign language and fingerspelling. (..) It is also vital that the history of Deaf people is made available to future generations, especially Deaf schoolchildren as part of their history lessons."
    A. Murray Holmes,  in: Cruel Legacy, an introduction of Deaf people in history, by A.F. Dimmock, 1993
  • "The Deaf community is international. What binds Deaf people, despite their different national sign languages, is their shared visual communication, history, cultural activities, and the need for a Deaf “space” where people come together."

    from: The Cultural Model of Deafness
  • "Deaf people have always had a sense of their history as it was being passed down in stories told by generations of students walking in the hallways of their residential schools and by others who congregated in their clubs, ran associations, attended religious services, and played in sporting events.
    With these activities, the deaf community exhibited hallmarks of agency — an effort to maintain their social, cultural, and political autonomy amid intense pressure to conform as hearing, speaking people."
    BRIAN H. GREENWALD AND JOSEPH J. MURRAY, in: Sign Language Studies, Volume 17, Number 1, Fall 2016
  • "Nina Simon has described true inclusion in a museum context as occurring when museums value the diversity in their audience, value those individuals’ potential and contributions, when they actively link those diverse people across differences, and when the organisation reaches out with generosity and curiosity at the core.
    On a practical level this sort of museum practice would see widespread inclusion of people with disabilities in the planning of museum exhibitions, on museum boards and steering committees, and working in curatorial roles."
    In: Corinne Ball: Expressing Ourselves, 2020
  • "What has become clear is that museums don’t just function as custodians of the past anymore; instead, they have embraced their responsibility towards the communities of the present: a responsibility to represent them, to speak to them, and to be open to dialogue with them."
    Tim Deakin, August 2021
  • "Deaf mute, deaf and dumb, hearing impaired – the choices are many and not without consequences. Words have many meanings, they convey attitudes and prejudices and may hurt, even when used in a well-intended context."
    Hanna Mellemsether, in:  Re-presenting Disability: Activism and Agency in the Museum, 2013
  • "Museums can increase our sense of wellbeing, help us feel proud of where we have come from, and inspire, challenge and stimulate us."
    Source: Museums Change Lives
  • "Histories have for too long emphasized the controversies over communication methods and the accomplishments of hearing people in the education of deaf students, with inadequate attention paid to those deaf individuals who created communication bridges and distinguished themselves as change agents in their respective field of endeavour."
    from: Harry G. Lang, Bonny Meath-Lang: Deaf Persons in the Arts and Sciences, 1995
  • "Opening ourselves to the Deaf community, listening to and respecting them as co-creators and experts telling the stories they want told, makes our practice richer, and has ongoing positive effects for the community.
    These embryonic relationships hopefully encourage Deaf people to feel welcome in our space — it’s their space too.
    For both side, communities and museum professionals, while genuinely, openly and truly committing to working together can be time-consuming, it repays any investment many-fold."
    Corinne Ball: Expressing ourselves’: creating a Deaf exhibition", 2020
  • "An important matter for any minority group is that written documents in public archives are often drawn up by the majority group and do not always reflect a minority as it sees itself. Thus, preserving sign language narration is of the utmost importance and a challenge to those working in the field of Deaf history."
    In: TIINA NAUKKARINEN, Finnish Museum of the Deaf: Presenting the Life of Carl Oscar Malm (1826–1863)
  • "This (Deaf) Museum is not intended as a casual show, to be seen once and forgotten. Its pretensions are nobler; it has a humanitarian aim. By its solid and tangible evidences, making history memorable and attractive by illustration, it serves a double purpose: to dispel ignorance and prejudice regarding the deaf, and to raise the victims of this prejudice and ignorance to their true level in society."
    The British Deaf Monthly, Vol. VI (p.265) 1897. In: Deaf Museums and Archival Centres, 2006
  • "The most significant function of museums is as centres for cultural democracy, where children and adults learn through practical experience that we all have cultural rights. Having the opportunity to create, and to give to others, may be one of our greatest sources of fulfilment. Culture is everywhere and is created by everyone."
    Source: A manifesto for museum learning and engagement
  • "As recently as the 1970s, deaf history did not exist. There were available sketches of various hearing men, primarily teachers, who were credited with bringing knowledge and enlightenment to generations of deaf children, but deaf adults were absent."

    In: Preface to: "Deaf History Unvailed, Interpretations from the New Scholarship". John Vickrey van Cleve, editor
    Publisher: Gallaudet University Press, 1993
  • "And yet, even within a large and, in many ways, traditional organization such as this (Trøndelag Folk Museum, Norway), the museum's encounter with Deaf culture contributed to profound changes and a process, still underway, which challenges our own understanding of what a museum is today, our role in society and our obligations towards more diverse audiences than those we had previously engaged or even recognized."
    Hanna Mellemsether, in:  Re-presenting Disability: Activism and Agency in the Museum, 2013
  • "After all, we are all of us explorers, and we all have much to bring to each other from our own
    Ladd, P. (2003). Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood.
  • “Stories of disability are largely absent from museum displays. Where they appear, they often reflect deeply entrenched, negative attitudes towards physical and mental difference. Research reveals that museums don’t simply reflect attitudes; they are active in shaping conversations about difference.
    Projects created with disabled people show that museums hold enormous potential to shape more progressive, accurate and respectful ways of understanding human diversity. Why wouldn’t we take up this opportunity? ”
    Richard Sandell, co-director, Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, University of Leicester
  • "Until the fall semester of 1986, the history department at Gallaudet University had never before offered a course in the history of deaf people.
    In the 122 years, to that point, since the founding of the university, which was specifically intended for the education of deaf peoples, no one had ever taught a course about this very group of people.
    In all of those years the history department had offered courses on a wide range of topics but never deaf history. "
    ENNIS, WILLIAM T., et al. “A Conversation: Looking Back on 25 Years of A Place of Their Own.” Sign Language Studies, vol. 17, no. 1, 2016, pp. 26–41. 
  • “One story makes you weak. But as soon as we have one-hundred stories, you will be strong.”
    Chris Cleave in "Little Bee", 2008
  • "The UN Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community”. This is based on the principle that citizens are not just consumers of cultural capital created by others; we have agency and the right to contribute through culture to the wider good of society."
    Source: A manifesto for museum learning and engagement
  • "Access to and participation in culture is a basic human right. Everyone has a right to representation and agency in museums, and communities should have the power to decide how they engage."
    Source: A manifesto for museum learning and engagement
  • the past can hurt

    From: Walt Disney, The Lion King

  • “If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.”
    Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight
  • "The Finnish Museum of the Deaf) was founded by deaf people, and, thus, its task has been to strengthen their identity and historical communality.

    Most of our materials have a connection to the key experiences that generations of deaf people have shared. These are important in understanding the past and keeping the collective memory alive."
    In: TIINA NAUKKARINEN, Finnish Museum of the Deaf: Presenting the Life of Carl Oscar Malm (1826–1863)
  • "Beyond works of art and objects, museums collect shared heritage, memories and living cultures as well as what we call intangible collectables."
    Source: We are Museums