National Association of the Deaf

Why is the Horse Blindfolded?



2012 NAD Conference, Louisville, KY, July 3-7 - DeaFestival Kentucky July 7

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We knew you would ask. Here's why...

My Eyes Are My Ears: DeaFestival Horse

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing entered into a partnership to host the 51st Biennial NAD Conference and DeaFestival-Kentucky at the same time. The NAD Conference runs through July 3-7, 2012 while DeaFestival-Kentucky will take place all day Saturday, July 7, 2012. As part of this partnership, the NAD and DeaFestival have combined their logos and graphics and will co-market both events. The horse is blindfolded and many people have asked us why. The blindfold reads "My Eyes Are My Ears" and the horse's eyes are painted on its ears (it is difficult to see that in the smaller images). Here's the story of My Eyes Are My Ears, from KCDHH:

The Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) and DeaFestival – Kentucky 2002 gave birth to the Horse of a Different Color, a project taken on by Visual Artist’s participating in the DeaFestival Artist Studio in 2002 and a traditional representation of Kentucky. Each artist contributed to the artwork in a free flowing and spontaneous manner, however the artwork was not completed at DeaFestival. The horse then traveled to Washington DC, where other artist’s attending the National Association of the Deaf conference in 2002, contributed their time and energy to painting our horse. Unfortunately, uninvited guests also contributed...and when the conference ended the Horse was still incomplete, lacking the “finished product” look that DeaFestival Visual Artists always give their work. In contemplating how to finish the Horse, KCDHH decided to seek the advice from other well-known Visual Artists both hearing and deaf. Discussions on how to complete the horse were a long and well thought out process. In 2003 Chuck Baird, a nationaly known artist, was selected and came to Kentucky to complete the project. The finished project name, “My Eyes are My Ears” was inspired by Tony McGregor and is a reflection of his original work on the horse.

The original images painted by the artists were transferred to the horse, although in a smaller format, to allow for the blending of images and background, and to tell a story of KCDHH and DeaFestival. Hands of staff members who are the backbone of volunteers that produce DeaFestival were used to “connect” the images transferred. Not all images were included, as some were unfinished and some were unknown artists. The goal of the project was to show unity and a partnership between the artist and DeaFestival. “My Eyes are My Ears” now proudly stands as a testimony of DeaFestival-Kentucky’s support of Deaf Visual Artists. What you see before you now is the compilation of many spirits and the love for ART from all who participated. An artistic horse with roots in KENTUCKY!

Participating Artists

  • Kat McGee
  • Tony Landon McGregor
  • Betty G. Miller
  • Victor Notaro
  • Lori Rosenberg
  • Ann Silver
  • Rita Straubhaar
  • Diane Squires
  • Alex Wilhite
  • Patricia Womack
  • William Wombles
  • Iris Aranda
  • 3 B’s (Betty Taylor, Beulah Hester, Barbie Harris)
  • Angela Clark
  • Malie DeCorte
  • Susan Dupor
  • Paul Johnston
  • Ayisha Knight
  • Elaine Laird
  • Tony L. McGregor (DeaFestival 2002)
  • Iris Aranda (DeaFestival 2002)
  • Chuck Baird (Finishing Artist 2003)
  • Jeff Carroll (2002 preparing the horse)

Download this story along with photos (PDF).

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