Exhibition of photographs aims to show ‘story arc of Deaf community’


A new exhibition of pictures by two Deaf photographers will highlight the achievements of a dozen Deaf people, and the barriers they face, and help to tell “the story arc of the Deaf community”.

Among the 12 subjects to be featured are the award-winning actor and writer Jean St Clair (pictured), who has performed in the UK and US; Ben Fletcher, the first Deafblind candidate to stand for parliament – for the Green party – who is also a senior manager and developer for the Financial Times; and fashion, lifestyle and travel bloggers Hermon and Heroda Berhane.

Other subjects include actor Sophie Stone, best known for appearing in two episodes of Doctor Who, but a prominent stage and television performer and co-founder of theatre company The DH Ensemble.

Some of the other 12 Deaf people featured are less well-known.

They include postal worker Charlie Faulds, who struggled to find work as a plumber because of communication barriers; Sanchu Iyer, from the Deaf Ethnic Women’s Association; and Sam Calder, a programme manager at The British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust.

The photographs have been taken by Levent Marasli, a photographer and teacher of the Deaf at a south London secondary school, and Gü Dopran, chief executive of Signlync, which is developing an app to connect Deaf people with interpretation services.

Dopran said: “This exhibition is important in highlighting the institutional barriers placed upon the Deaf and disabled communities.

“We have talent, desire, passion and the will to excel but without opportunity these traits become less and less important.

“Everyone within the Deaf community understands and has experienced ‘barrier fatigue’. We need access to all areas of society!

“The strides made by society in general over the last decade have been great, but it’s like opening a door halfway. We can see into the room but can’t quite get all the way in.

“This exhibition is to promote people that have broken through the barriers and are achieving great things. This should serve as an inspiration to those still striving.

“Among the 12 are successful people but also those still searching for their niche.

“When telling a story, it’s important to have a beginning, middle and end. We want to show the ‘story arc’ of the Deaf community.”

The exhibition is supported by Elrem – a consultancy that supports Deaf freelancers and business owners, including Marasli, Dopran and the Berhane twins – and by Signlync, and takes place during International Week of the Deaf.

The exhibition will be at Leman Locke hotel, 15 Leman St, Whitechapel, London E1 8EN, and will be open to the public between 9am to 10.30pm from Wednesday 26 September to Sunday 30 September.

Anyone interested in attending a private view on Tuesday 25 September, 6.30-9pm – which will be attended by the two photographers and some of their subjects – should email [email protected]

Picture of Jean St Clair by Levent Marasli


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