Born deaf in 1957, Lee S. Ivey showed artistic talent from an early age. She attended the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton, NC, and graduated from Gallaudet University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art.
Lee was especially talented in sculptures made from polyform modeling compound, oil paintings, and drawings. She began her formal studies on Deaf experiences during her last two years at the Gallaudet Art Department. Her mentors was a Deaf Russian artist, Alexander Nazarov, who was an artist-in-residence at Gallaudet University in 1992, and Dr. Betty G. Miller, a Deaf artist. They were her greatest influence in her work. Her senior thesis in 1992 was a clever and beautiful sculpture piece titled “Deaf President Now,” which was in 1993 purchased by Gallaudet University. It is now on permanent display in the office of the university president.
Her last exhibit was part of a student art show at the Gallaudet Art Department Gallery in Spring, 1992.
After graduation from Gallaudet, Lee worked as a freelance Interpreter for deaf-blind people, while continuing her artistic development. During her last year, she concentrated on oil painting. Lee died of cancer at the age of 37 on January 3, 1995.
Lee’s work depicted her personal experiences, protesting oppression on deafness, and experiencing love, pain and pride for ASL and Deaf Culture. She believed in providing services to the Deaf community with love and passion, through persistence in her work as an interpreter, and expression of truth through her art work.
(Courtesy of Betty G. Miller)