Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
Qin Xi Lin is deaf. While he speaks sign language, he prefers to communicate using a pencil and paper to write out questions and answers in English. The below story comes from 11 pages of questions and answers over an hour and a half of sitting with Qin Xi Lin at Art Enables, an arts-based training and employment placement program for persons with developmental disabilities.
“I am Qin Xi Lin. Thank you for your interest in me. I am an artist from Shanghai, China, and have been doing painting and drawing since 1965. When I started learning art at 16, I did still life with water colors. From there, I started doing sculpture with clay. In China, I worked in art and spent 31 years at a bedding sheet factory. There, I designed flower prints.
“On June 15, 1996, I was invited to come to the United States with the National Theater of the Deaf. I became deaf as a small child because of a fever. In China, we have many deaf people, so life was not so difficult. I met a woman who could speak, but learned sign language. We lived together and had two daughters.
“After my invitation to come here, I stayed in America and made a life here as an artist. It was very difficult as I was all by myself and there was no factory work for me here. I took a job at a restaurant as a cook and did art work with the Community for Creative Non-Violence. My art was put in galleries in Bethesda and Rockville. While I was at CCNV, something happened and I lost all of my art work. I still do not know if it was stolen or was lost. Now, I am working with Art Enables to make more art and put more things in galleries.
“I like America, but living here is hard. I have to do everything myself because I have no family or friends here. I save all of my money, so that I can bring my family here from China. I own a house on the green line that waits for them. Until they come here, I am renting it and living in a shelter, so that we can have money for my daughters to go to school. For 15 years, I can only see their photos and read their letters. I am happy to bring them here soon and for us to be together again.”
People’s District will be taking a short break until July 18th. Until then, we share with you some of our favorite stories from the past year.