Society for American Sign Language Journal

Document Type



The art piece known as “Ameslan Prohibited” may currently enjoy an excellent standing in the eyes of deaf people in the United States and abroad, but this was not the case in 1972 when it was first exhibited to the public. Fifty years have passed with the art piece shifting from being thought of as outrageous by many viewers to being highly acclaimed. “Ameslan Prohibited” refers to society’s historical and contemporary lack of support for the language of deaf people in the United States, American Sign Language (ASL). The now deceased Betty Gloria Miller was the creator of “Ameslan Prohibited”; she lived her life as a deaf woman and was a strong advocate for ASL and social justice. In this paper, Miller as an artist is subject to theoretical discussion based on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s (1997) systems model of creativity. This along with an interview conducted with Miller’s life partner, Nancy Creighton produces some new and in-depth insights on Deaf art. The author of this paper closes with her thoughts and insights as a deaf signer and a viewer of “Ameslan Prohibited.”



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