written by Heather Barczynski, Student Assistant
Last week Silver Moon Brand artists Ann Silver and Jim Van Manen visited the Dyer Arts Center!
Ann is the grandmother I always wish I had; she is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She introduced herself with a hug and told the best stories. If you attended last Thursday’s Silver Moon Artist Talk, you probably heard some of them. One of my favorites was the story of Ann’s Japanese art debut. Ann entered ten tiles picturing Japanese women into an art competition for the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. Typically Japanese women, such as geishas, are portrayed in traditional Japanese art as immaculately dressed, with not a strand of hair out of place. This is for a very good reason: Japanese women pictured with disheveled hair or ruffled clothing were perceived to have just come out of the bedroom after a night of carnal pleasure. Ann was not aware of this cultural significance and portrayed her women with tousled hair and askew robes, showing a bit of skin. When she arrived to Japan, the commission notified her of this cultural mishap. Ann was mortified and surprised that she was still selected to work on the commissioned projects. While these entries are not included in the current exhibition, Silver Moon’s similar image “The Tattooed Lady” is on display.
Ann and Jim also explained how they met and began their collaboration that became Silver Moon. Prior to 2012, all of Ann’s art was hand-made as she had not yet entered the digital age. After 2012, Ann and Jim began working together on digital prints and increasing awareness of Ann Silver’s works to the general public.
Ann is a living, breathing part of history, especially the Deaf Art Movement (DAM). Ann spoke about her struggles as not only being an artist, but being Deaf, Female, and Lesbian throughout her career. It was an honor to host such a pioneer at the Dyer Arts Center.
Ann’s artist reception was also a success thanks to all the visitors who came here! We had visitors travel from as far as Maryland and Pennsylvania to meet with Ann and Jim. Not only did Ann love her exhibit in the Dyer Arts Center, but so did the attendees. Many of our patrons purchased Ann’s artwork as well as her book Ann Silver: One Way, Deaf Way, written by Jim Van Manen.
I hope you enjoyed Silver Moon’s visit as much as we did! If you have not had a chance to do so, stop by to see Ann Silver: Deaf Way, Her Way- A Retrospective before April 22.