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Deaf Artist Speaks through Painting

Deaf Artist Speaks through Painting

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One of the artists at Honolulu Art Center’s 2nd Annual Fundraiser (27 Aug 2005) is Daniel Wang. Wang was born in Shanghai, China in 1937. As a child, he spent alot of time with his mother as she was his teacher. She realized very early on that he was very creative. She arranged for him to be tutoredin painting, which is how he learned Lingnan style painting.

He gave his first exhibit at the age of 12. Throughout his teens he studied with Chinese masters. His work has been shown in San Francisco, Canada, Hong Kong, Hawaii, and elsewhere.

What sets Wang apart is that he is deaf. Painting has become a way for him to express himself without the spoken word. His specialty, Lingnan, is done on rice paper with watercolors, pen, and ink. this style was created in 1879 by Gao Jianfu. Most of Wang’s designs involve animals, landscapes, and anything to do with nature. He paints from memory.

Being deaf creates some difficulties. While others can speak about their art, Wang must use sign language. He can’t always communicate with customers and admirers which can complicate matters. When Wang moved to San Francisco in 1977, he taught himself English and American Sign Language, which helped out.

He currently lives in Honolulu. He teaches traditional calligraphy at the Honolulu Waldorf School in addition to painting. Part of Wang’s collection includes t-shirts which he has hand painted with acrylics. His work has also appeared on a 2001-2002 wildlife stamp. You can view examples of Wang’s work at the Hawaii Art Board Website.

[Photo of Shanghai courtesy of Kathy de la Cruz, www.sxc.hu

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