Deaf Explorer are Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq, Ruth Montgomery and Rinkoo Barpaga. They all Deaf British Sign Language users & winners of a National competition for deaf artists called deaf explorer in 2012/13 that was organised by Birmingham’s Deaf Cultural Centre, & employed Alan McLean and Racheal Veazey. Together we are an artist led & governance is Deaf & user led. We formed because of need to support deaf artists, and use our position to give something back to the deaf arts community by forming as a group to raise recognition of the systematic and institutional barriers that aspiring deaf artists experience when trying to access mainstream arts organisations and the opportunities they bring. We also wanted take a deaf leadership role to involve the deaf community in the arts more. At Ikon Gallery we consulted deaf artists in June 2014. With 12 deaf artists we explored the expectations of arts organisations about deaf artists, the expectations about attracting deaf audiences & the barriers to working in the arts. As an evaluation of current situation it confirmed need for a deaf led arts organisation. In July 2015 we organised a deaf artist event about professional development and grants at Beaconsfield Gallery, London; attended by 28 Culturally diverse deaf creative’s, majority new to Deaf explorer. In October 2015 Activities at Ikon gallery for creative deaf people starting a business & deaf young people with role models artist Olivier Jamin making painting for Grand Central Birmingham & creative social enterprise leader Sunny Channa.
Rinkoo is an emerging artist born and raised in Birmingham. In 2002 he began performing as a BSL story teller achieving success in London and Scotland. His friends encouraged him for nearly a decade to become a stand up comedian.
His comedy style is influenced by Black American stand up comedians such as Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart and Katt Williams.
Profoundly deaf from birth, Ruth is a musician, teacher, workshop facilitator and visual artist who has graduated with a music degree, majoring in flute performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music. As a flautist and artist she works with both music and image, creating pictures and using visual film media. The Deaf Explorers project enabled her to travel to New York to meet Christine Sun Kim to learn how she uses technology to access music, and ways of interpreting music. Music can easily be seen as inaccessible to deaf people and Ruth wants to change that perception.
Rubbena is a Deaf British Muslim artist based in London who has been exhibiting her paintings and mixed-media installation pieces since 1992. Her work is abstract and encourages the viewer to feel a sense of freedom to explore and find meaning. Rubbena’s recent work has been inspired by her involvement in Deaf Explorer which has enabled her to research Bollywood and Indian culture and take a fresh direction in the development of her art.