Ali Hargreaves is a local artist and a former schoolteacher. Ali painted this artwork to represent the difficulties the deaf community faced with mask-wearing during the coronavirus pandemic. Sharing the work on Facebook and Instagram to increase awareness caused outrage with some viewers, who saw the painting but did not read the message behind it. They believed Ali was anti-mask, which is untrue.
Ali wrote: “I rely on lip reading hugely and now everyone wears masks it’s very hard […] if not impossible for me to communicate. People don’t understand that if I can’t see their lips I am missing some vital clues to what they are saying, and I know there will be thousands of others struggling like me. There are see-through masks available, but they tend to steam up. There are small badges available for those of us who are hard of hearing to wear… but these are no good if people don’t understand what they are for. The painting was an attempt to relieve my frustration and explain my problem to the world.”
Ali hopes that people will be more thoughtful, patient and caring towards the deaf community.
Artwork © Ali Hargreaves (Ali’s Art)