Feb 2019 Rochester Business Journal
Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf is showcasing a collection of paintings by RIT/NTID alumna Ashley Hannan.
Rise Up: Silent Margins features 17 paintings by Hannan exploring deafness in a unique and powerful way. Her artwork depicts her journey of coming to terms with being deaf, having a cochlear implant and being the only deaf person in the mainstream schools she attended.
“Growing up, after having been educated at an oral deaf school with intensive speech therapy and audiology testing, I still felt incomplete,” says Hannan of her piece “The Black Hole of Conflicted Identity.”
“Though I was implanted with a cochlear implant at age 6, ‘fixing’ me still did not fill in the hole I had and still have in my identity. It wasn’t until my young adult years that I began to awaken and notice the conflict in my self-esteem stemmed from the lack of understanding that there is a deaf culture that is just as functional as the hearing world. I was apprehensive of delving into the deaf world for my identity for a long time.”
Hannan adds that her piece “Be True” was inspired by her realisation that all she had to do was be true to herself and emerge into something wonderful that was there all along even though it took decades for her to see.