Sue Jo Wright

Sue Jo Wright is a Sydney-based artist working primarily with photography, video, and textiles which explore her identity as a Deaf person.  

ID: Photo of Sue Jo Wright sitting in front of a low wooden bookcase, one hand is on her chin, the other over her knee. She has long pale lilac hair, is wearing burgundy framed glasses, a big earring of two orange circles hanging from a blue half circle and purple square, a brightly coloured Snoopy jacket and black pants. She is smiling gently and looking at the camera. To the right of the frame is a desk supported by white trestle legs. There is a full notebook on the desk with stitches down the spine. On top of the bookcase behind her is a plant, shelving with folded fabric in neutral colours and a container of paint brushes.

Sue Jo Wright grew up being torn between the ‘hearing world’ and the ‘deaf world,’ speaking orally in the beginning of her life and not using sign language until the age of 10. As Sue felt that sign language saved and enriched her life, she is inspired to create artwork in an attempt to break the barriers between the two ‘worlds’ and offer the wider community a glimpse into the identity of the Deaf community.   

Since 2019, Sue works as a community arts advocate with a vision to reduce the barriers experienced by deaf and hard of hearing people from accessing artworks and performances.  

This is achieved by consulting artists on how they can make their artwork and performances more accessible to deaf and hard of hearing audiences. Sue has a vision that can be simply put as 'accessibility for all,’ a simple phrase that is a huge hurdle in the society we live in. She continuously raises awareness of these ever-present hurdles in society through her art.

Sue attained a Diploma of Visual Arts at TAFE NSW - St George, Fine Arts, which included a series of short courses in Arts Administration (Community Arts and Cultural Development).  

She currently holds a range of teaching, employment and professional appointments that establishes strong links for the deaf and hard of hearing community to the arts industry, including the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art, since 2016.   

Sue has been awarded 2020 Australian Design Centre Award, Seed Stitch Contemporary Textile Awards (SSCTA), was a finalist in the 2021 and 2020 Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, Campbelltown Arts Centre and 2017 Maggie Diaz Photography Prize for Women. In 2017, Sue was one of three recipients to be awarded a Residency at the Bundanon Trust, the first time Accessible Arts has worked with Bundanon Trust on a residency for deaf and hard of hearing artists.  

Sue’s exhibition Dinner Table Syndrome is currently showing at Australian Design Centre until 28 September. She is also showing as part of Invisible at AIRspace Projects until 18 September 2022.

In this video, Sue Jo Wright chats to NAVA about getting started as an artist, overcoming barriers and advocating for the Deaf community through her art.

Video production by Playground / ArtVid 2022.

Photo by Jacquie Manning.