Deborah Ralph-Kafarela is a Multidisciplinary Mid-Career Artist, Social Change Agent, Lived Experience Consultant, Project Manager, Keynote Speaker and Regional Community Relations Specialist with a 2015 Double Major in Visual Art and Design at Curtin University, Western Australia.
Ralph-Kafarela’s professional art practice is influenced by her ancestral connections to politics (human rights), theatre, music and visual art. 'My heritage contributed to the Australian Constitution, and asserted Social Justice for reasonable wages and work hours in the early Twentieth Century. Contemporary Female Jazz Musicians entertained on show boats in WW11 at Sydney Harbor. As a young child I watched my father Robert Ralph, on a ladder painting the face of Luna Park, in Sydney, NSW. '
Academic studies have included a Double Major Degree in Visual Art and Design at Curtin University. Western Australia in 2015. Claremont School of Art, and an Advanced Diploma of Environmental Art and Design at Polytechnic West, Midland, 2013.
Deborah Ralph-Kafarela Solo Exhibitions include, ‘Lines of Communication’, 2016, ‘I am Deborah Ralph’ 2018.
Human Rights is an integral focus in Ralph-Kafarela's work. Deborah was a 2017 Professional Finalist in the Ravenswood National Women’s Art Prize in Sydney, NSW for ‘Memorium’, an Installation depicting the 100 women who die from Domestic Violence every year in Australia. And in 2017 Ralph-Kafarela won the Town of Bassendean Acquisitive Art Prize for ‘Petitioning’ a Women’s Suffragette installation, depicting a one kilometre scroll of her name beseeching Governments, Communities, and Individuals to review current Women’s Human Rights surrounding Domestic Violence.
Deborah in recent years has redirected her art practice into the community to experiment with Social Activism, Participatory Democracy in Social Art Practices. Ralph-Kafarela's First Art Residency ‘Multa Plenty’ in 2019 was held at Midland Junction Arts Centre in Western Australia focused on Ending Homelessness as a Whole Community, an Artists Response to the Western Australia Strategy to End Homelessness. Two thousand people co-created art works over 18 months.
Deborah has exhibited in several Group Exhibitions since 2009.
As Artist in Residence in 2021 at Shelter WA, the Peak Body for Housing Insecurely and Homelessness. Deborah led as Founder and Project Manager the Street to Street Project, an Arts and Culture, Lived Experience driven 'housing first' initiate. Collaborative partnerships were formed with Key Stakeholders Tranby, St Pats and RUAH to support co-facilitated art workshops at Community Hub Crisis Centres. Engaging in Social Activism in art making, co-creating with people experiencing homelessness gave a voice to the voiceless . Creating co-design from inception for a permanent housing initiative. Intersecting Arts and Culture with Industry to provide solution.
Endorsing Best Practice; Inform, Educate, Consult, Involve, Co-Design, Co-Produce, and , Citizen -Led.
"Needed cultural change occurs when a whole of community come together to respond to a human rights issue in a society. Artists, Lived Experience, Local and State Governments, Businesses, Schools, Religions, Sporting Clubs". The Community become the artist as a whole to create large scale sculptural installations that contribute to solutions.
Ralph-Kafarela states, "Something happens! People begin to think outside of institutional binaries. Art collaborates a culture."
Reflecting on Ralph-Kafarela’s work, “As an artist I am moving away from being a visual 'commentator' of society to a ‘facilitator’ as Nicholas Burraiud stated in Relational Aesthetics 2002.
Promoting change, bridging the gap between socio economic, social, gender and cultural difference. Opening discussion and engaging action through art on human rights issues in Australia and encouraging ‘cultural environmentalism, a shift away from an egological to an ecological modernity or cosmodernity…’ as Amy Elias explains in The Dialogical Avant Guarde: Relational Aesthetics and Time Evologies in Only Revolutions and TOC, 2012”.
Artists of influence - Joseph Beuys, Rick Lowe, Ai Weiwei in whom all have been successful in social activism methodology, using relational aesthetics and pragmatic art practices. These artists delivered social and political observations and concerns, evoked change of thought and provided place activation to improve a society.