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Deaf Community Reacts Idaho Falls ASL Mural

WATCH [CC] - Idaho Falls' new downtown mural gets thumbs down from Deaf community.


IDAHO FALLS -- KPVI News: A mural in downtown Idaho Falls is seeing a huge backlash in the Deaf community, after using American Sign Language incorrectly.

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Tucked away in an alley on the 400 block of Park Avenue, a mural that was commissioned for ACLU's 25th year in Idaho may appear to use sign language, but looks can be deceiving.

Alexander Low said "I looked at it for the first time and I thought oh... That's a really nice thought... I was impressed with that... Then I realized that I couldn't understand what it was signing I kept looking at it trying to figure it out..."

Backlash against the artwork has been strong, with several Facebook posts speaking against the mural.

The palms of the hand formation are facing the center, and not towards the viewer. This causes it to not actually mean anything.

Ricky Taylor said "So in ASL there are rules... There is structure just like any language. And so the artist has to show the palm orientation of the ASL has to be specific... When I see that mural it didn't really make sense..."

The art was supposed to represent understanding through different communications.

Many are saying it would have been better to hire a Deaf artist.

Taylor also said "There is a famous quote... You have to be Deaf to understand this experience... And so the artist herself is a hearing person... It doesn't mean that she is a bad person she's good... But she doesn't understand deafness... What it means to be Deaf..."

As it stands now, it is confusing and a misrepresentation of the language and culture.

The Deaf community is now looking for solutions, including working with them to fix the problem.

Low also said "I kept looking at it trying to figure it out... It looked like gang signs... The hand shapes of maybe some gang signs... It still wouldn't make sense to anybody knowing sign language... The colors are wonderful but I really think they need to re do the hands..."

The Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation who was commissioned to make the mural did not want to comment but they are looking to talk with the public about how to fix it.

Alexander Low said "I looked at it for the first time and I thought oh... that's a really nice thought... i was impressed with that... then I realized that I couldn't understand what it was signing I kept looking at it trying to figure it out..."

Ricky Taylor said "So in ASL there is rules... there is structure just like any language.. and so the artist has to show the palm orientation of the ASL has to be specific... when i see that mural it didn't really make sense..."

"There is a famous quote... You have to be Deaf to understand this experience... And so the artist herself is a hearing person... It doesn't mean that she is a bad person she's good... But she doesn't understand deafness... What it means to be Deaf..."

"I kept looking at it trying to figure it out... It looked like gang signs... The hand shapes of maybe some gang signs... It still wouldn't make sense to anybody knowing sign language... The colors are wonderful but i really think they need to re do the hands..."

SOURCE - KPVI News

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