For me, the declaration "It takes a village to raise a child" is not only and African proverb, it's the way I've lived my life. Questions of my cultural and linguistic identity always invoke quizzical expressions, astonishment or resignation to the fact that I can't be described in one checked box on college applications. I am the daughter of a white Jewish mother and a Black Cherokee father by birth, but I was raised in a community of single mothers who raised me as their own. At last count, fifteen mothers, three fathers, numerous brothers, sisters all forming an unconventional yet profoundly beautiful family. This ethnically diverse community of poets, painters, sculptors, storytellers taught me that creating and sharing art is as much a political act as a thing of beauty. Sharing myself and my work has been my greatest challenge and most rewarding experience.

Although I've never taken a formal photography class, I occasionally used to follow my mother around on photo shoots, got my first 35 mm camera (a Canon Rebel) for my birthday one year and never looked back. As a Deaf woman who's primary language is ASL, my vision of the world is unique. Hands, eyes, facial expressions and bodies are dominant themes, but like me, my subjects are unique and unlimited. A little quirky and definitely not mainstreamed aesthetically.

My passion for art, storytelling, theater and education have been forming a tapestry for many years now. I invite you to come witness its evolution, and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at deafayisha [at]