Little Fledgling

Little Fledgling

By Walter Kadiki

This poem entitled ‘Little Fledgling’, composed in Australian Sign Language, is a poignant portrayal of my vulnerability growing up as a Deaf person – just as vulnerable as a little fledgling is from predators. I paint a deeply disturbing journey of growing up as Deaf in a hearing-dominated society, whose perspective is that Deafness is an impairment, and that the inability to hear interferes with a person’s ability to respond to environmental cues, to adapt, to communicate and achieve what defines us as human. Vulnerable just like a fledgling trapped, its flight feathers being ripped off.

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Four images of Walter Kadiki performing signed poetry

Walter Kadiki is a master of weaving signed poetry and visual vernacular into poetic performances that bridge cultures and are accessible to Deaf and hearing audiences. He has delivered workshops in Deaf slam poetry for young people across Australia, worked with community groups, and collaborated and performed for the Melbourne Fringe Festival, Federation Square, the Melbourne Deaflympic and the Australian Parliament, among others. In 2017, Walter collaborated with US-based interdisciplinary dance and design company NOW-ID; his powerful poetry was the impetus and focus for their original contemporary dance–based piece ‘A Tonal Caress’, which was performed at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in July 2018.