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1993, Ukraine, based in Poland

Photo: Jerzy Wypych

Viktoriia Tofan explores the possibilities offered by language as a response to a profound sense of alienation, which she shares with deaf persons.

Working with deaf people became foundational to the creation of a new alphabet and new phonic language. This new language ​​is her new private homeland, offering a sense of belonging and 'spaciousness'. Language in this context becomes more than an information sharing device – it is an affective space for emotions and forming a community open to difference. This private homeland is the starting point for communication which engages with communities through stories of people whose articulation does not inscribe into normative communication channels.

Tofan uses embroidery to work with language and draw on the sensuality of this craft which is often associated with female labour. It also allows her to pay attention to the backside, which no one usually sees. Revealing the hidden reverse of the embroidered pieces shows language as a passport to a new homeland created by Tofan.

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