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International Women's Day celebrations to feature deaf sign language poet

Sunday's opening event for the Women's Arts exhibition was well attended. Photo: Jay Kynch

Sunday’s opening event for the Women’s Arts exhibition was well attended. Photo: Jay Kynch

A week of events being held to celebrate International Women’s Day in Cardiff will culminate in a performance from deaf poet Donna Williams.

Miss Williams, who performs poetry using British Sign Language (BSL), will be performing at the Butetown History and Arts Centre on Saturday for the closing event of the Women’s Arts Association’s open exhibition week.

The Women’s Arts Association, based at Butetown History and Arts Centre, aims to promote female artists and include women who are isolated due to their ethnicity or location.

Deaf poet Donna Williams attended mainstream school and only started to learn BSL while at the University of Central Lancashire.

She said: “By the time I graduated in 2006, I could sign fluently and considered myself bi-cultural, moving in both hearing and deaf worlds.

“This is an outlook I still have, as I spend time in both worlds, but sometimes this is not easy, I reflect on this in some of my poems.”

The opening day of the Women's Arts Association

The Women’s Arts exhibition features work from 20 different artists. Photo: Jay Kynch


The Women’s Arts exhibition was launched on Sunday with an opening display of postcards at Sunflower and I Cafe on Bute Street.

Paintings and photographs from 20 different artists will be on display throughout the week at Butetown History and Arts Centre, and the gallery will be open from 10am to 5pm from Monday to Friday.

A closing event called Empowering Women will be held on Saturday from 11am to 4pm, and will include a talk from the Black Association of Woman Step Out (BAWSO), a charity supporting women from ethnic minority backgrounds experiencing domestic abuse and other forms of abuse.

Jacqueline Alkema, an artist with the Women’s Arts Association and former chair of the organisation, said: “We had a very good opening of the show on Sunday. The fundraising event in the Sunflower and I Cafe was also really successful.”

Sian Holley, an artist involved in the exhibition, added: “With around 20 different artists on display there are a variety of different kinds of work in the exhibition.”

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8.

British Sign Language poet Donna Williams writes a blog at deaffirefly.com and can be seen performing her poetry here:


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