I am passionate about Polish sign language and a teacher for many years involved in spreading knowledge about the Culture of the Deaf. Recently, I also became a Polish Visual Vernacular artist. From the first contact with VV (the first day of the workshop in which I participated), I fell in love with this particular technique of artistic expression. I say the following about VV: “Honestly speaking, we missed it in Poland. I really enjoy watching storytelling using gestures, I feel as if I was drawn into the movie as if it was really happening. „
What is VV (Visual Vernacular)?
Visual Vernacular can be a way to show people the beauty of Deaf Culture. It is a form of theatrical expression that combines elements such as facial expressions, pantomime, gestures, elements of sign language, story-telling, and poetry of the shape and movement of the body. With the help of the whole body, hand movements, gestures, and facial expressions, you can tell a story that will be understandable for both hearing and deaf people.
And as a representative from Poland, I found myself in the VV group, which gathered 9 great artists not only from Europe but also from distant Brazil and the USA.
I was very happy because I achieved my long-term goal in life, i.e. my own performance at such a festival. But at the same time, I was fighting with the extraordinary great stage fright with the fear of a stupid mistake, standing alone on the stage in front of the audience, blinded by the theatrical light, defenseless not like Lara Croft, armed to the teeth. However, with only my own talent and strength of stubbornness, I overcame everything and everyone, in spite of myself and everyone.
Because in my performance „Treasure VVomen” (not to confuse VVomen with English Women) I referred to this Lara Croft, a fictional character, but the protagonist of real computer games from the Tomb Raider series, and even movies.
She, finally a woman (sic!), And not a man as usual, as the main character, looking for a hidden treasure, had to overcome not only extreme obstacles, but also unfriendly or even hostile men.
So what is this woman’s treasure? Simply VV, i.e. in the development of Visual Vernacular. Because Lara’s story is closely related to my experience, the journey of my life, during which I discovered a long-sleeping passionate talent that is VV. And being a woman in the male (sic) world of VV artists is not only something extraordinary or exotic, but also my personal challenge. Like a woman with a starring role in the cinema, it is usually very masculine.
Only a woman as talented and even ruthless knows well whether it is possible to break into the male world at all, and if so, at what cost?