What I Wish I’d Told You, by Claire Bridge and Chelle Destefano, affirms Deaf voices, identity and culture. Immersive, largescale video projections transform Hyphen’s Playspace Gallery into a Deaf space - a place of belonging and affirmation of sign language, culture and Deafhood.
The artwork grew from an open invitation from Bridge and Destefano to the Deaf community to respond to the prompt: What is it that you wish you had said, or could say now?
Deaf people were invited to respond in video stories told in Auslan, with complete agency, in whichever way and to whoever they wanted.
The artists received a remarkable response and have collaborated with these storytellers to create a valuable living archive of Deaf Cultural experience, Australian sign language, Deaf artistry and creativity.
What I Wish I Told You brings together Deaf people from diverse backgrounds to celebrate identity, culture, and pride. It creates a sense of safety among Deaf, sharing important stories of oppression, audism and compassion.
“What I Wish I Told You aims to bring positive change for the Deaf community." - Chelle Destefano
“What I Wish I Told You, celebrates Deaf people, Deaf culture and Auslan, centering complex and diverse Deaf identities, Deaf voices and Deaf agency. It creates a bridge between Deaf and hearing worlds, with provocative and intimate insight into Deaf experience as told by Deaf people.” - Claire Bridge
What I Wish I’d Told You is inclusive and accessible: cross-culturally (including Deaf/hearing, Indigenous/non-indigenous, LGBTIQ+), cross-linguistically (Auslan/ Deaf mob sign/ English), and cross-modally (Auslan sign-language, Deaf/blind sign, voiced-spoken English and captioned text).
Video stories are told in Auslan by a broad range of voices and identities, with English captions and audio voiceovers provided in English to match the Auslan storytellers.
This catalogue was developed for the touring exhibition by Footscray Community Arts. Following the exhibition at Hyphen, it will be on exhibition at Realm Artspace in Ringwood in October.
What I Wish I’d Told You is a touring exhibition which premiered at Footscray Community Arts.
The Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the lands where our office is located, and all Traditional Owners of country throughout Victoria and Australia. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enduring traditions and continuing creative cultures. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.