The first ever ‘All Africa Deaf Arts Festival’ will hold from December 1 to 4 in Lagos, to give the deaf community a sense of belonging and promote a society where they are not discriminated.

It will be organised by Seams Consult, in collaboration with Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Lagos.

Executive Director of Seams Consult, James Samuel, said it will be an opportunity for the deaf to showcase their talents in dancing, craft, sports, drama, songs, history and heritage of the deaf, among others

According to him, while people enjoy good arts, none is designed to promote the deaf with artistic skills.

Co-organiser of Seams Consult, Akhere Akran, said the festival would diversify and chang ‘what was to what should be’.

She said the festival’ will be the first in Africa and about 10 countries have shown interest.

Akran noted that ‘sign language should not be an option for us, but a part of our everyday lives as we all communicate daily’.

She urged people not to pity the disabled, but show empathy ‘whereby you see a disabled person and you want to help rather than just feeling sorry for them’.

Assistant Curator of the CCA Peter Okotor restated that the deaf culture should be included in the society, adding that ‘a society where deaf culture is excluded cannot succeed’. Chief Choreographer Olakunle Omotesho, who has been relating with actors, dancers and photographers in his 21 years of artistic experience, said he has never seen the hearing perform better than the disabled.

According to Omotesho, the deaf cannot hear, but they feel the music, ‘which is more acceptable because music is more about emotions and this makes them good and skilled dancers’.

“People call it a disability, but I what they have a specialty,” he added.

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