What I Wish I’d Told You

What I Wish I’d Told You
Launch Date: Saturday 23 July 2022, 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Exhibition Date: 13 July – 28 August 2022
Event Information

What I Wish I’d Told You, by Claire Bridge and Chelle Destefano with Deaf community, centres Deaf voices, identity, language and culture.

Auslan storytellers affirm Deaf experiences and diverse, complex identities, in an immersive exhibition of large scale video projections, which bring visitors into a Deaf world. In this collaboration of over seventy Deaf and hearing allies, empowered Deaf storytellers draw on decolonising strategies of truth-telling, provocation, and self-representation, to challenge audist colonisation of Deaf lives, bodies, language, and knowledges.

“In Auslan, we pass stories from hand to hand. Our stories cannot be put on a page, detached from us. When we tell stories through sign language, our whole body, mind, emotion, and inner-self is also expressed. Our signed stories carry culture. They are a site of resistance and pride.” Chelle Destefano

Shared with humour, wit, courage, and care, ‘What I Wish I’d Told You’ transforms the gallery into a Deaf space and Deaf Cultural experience.

Working together as collaborators and allies, Bridge and Destefano are winners of the West Space/Footscray Community Arts Commission 2022 for ‘What I Wish I’d Told You’.

Launch event: Saturday 23 July 2022, 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Exhibition dates: 13 July – 28 August 2022
Location: Entrance Gallery, Gabriel Gallery, and Roslyn Smorgon Gallery

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Friday: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Footscray Community Arts in partnership with West Space, present ‘What I Wish I’d Told You’. 

‘What I Wish I’d Told You’ is supported by the Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne

Date & Times

13 July – 28 August 2022

Footscray Community Arts

What I Wish I’d Told You is inclusive and accessible: cross-culturally (including Deaf/hearing, Indigenous/non-indigenous, LGBTIQ+), cross-linguistically (Auslan/ Deaf mob sign/ English), and cross-modally (Auslan sign-language, Deaf/blind sign, voiced-spoken English and captioned text).  

Video stories are told in Auslan by a broad range of voices and identities, with English captions and audio voice-overs provided in English to match the Auslan storytellers. 

Meet the Artists
  • Chelle Destefano
    Chelle Destefano

    Chelle is a multi-disciplinary Deaf artist working with performance art, textiles,  sculpture, installation and poetry. Her work explores Deaf identity from her lived experience of being a Deaf person in a hearing world, Deaf history and Culture and her language, Auslan. Her video poetry  performances are informed by experiences of audism and oppression as a Deaf child and adult, combined with embroidered textile installations.  

  • Claire Bridge
    Claire Bridge

    Claire is a hearing interdisciplinary artist of Anglo-Indian-Australian and Deaf heritage, a grandchild of Deaf Adults, fluent in Auslan and former Auslan interpreter and researcher at the National Institute for Deaf Studies. Her practice includes ceramic sculpture, video, sound, textiles, painting, installation with a deep interest in collaborative frameworks. Bridge’s work engages with notions of shared story as vessels that contain, sustain, and have potential to transform collective beliefs, attitudes and culture. Embedded within her processes, objects, and materials, are gestures of repair of personal and collective wounds, opening ruptures of transformational potential and plasticity. For Bridge, repair is a vital practice of cultural resistance. Her works speak to a hope towards thriving, ongoing-ness and the restorative futures of an evolving culture.