"Multa Plenty" - Presented by Deborah Ralph-Kafarela
Artist in focus, Deborah Ralph-Kafarela is working in residence at Midland Junction Arts Centre’s The Store Gallery from 22 June to 10 August 2019. During this time she will develop a series of artworks and installations that challenge cultural values of rough sleeping and homelessness as part of an engagement project titled Multa Plenty.
Reflecting on her own past lived-experience of homelessness Ralph-Kafarela aims to create discourse around equality and displacement. Ralph-Kafarela attributes the inspiration to this project from signing up to volunteer with the organisation Street Friends over 18 months ago. Helping the organisation to feed over 300 people every night encouraged Ralph-Kafarela to reflect on her own past experiences, her more fortunate current situation and how precarious stable housing can be. Multa Plenty also portrays her response to the Western Australian Strategy to End Homelessness 2018 – 2028. Motivated by these experiences and policies, Ralph-Kafarela now uses her arts practice to advocate for empathy and aims to encourage all sectors of the community to work towards ending homelessness.
Deborah Ralph-Kafarela with some of the donated sleeping bags and blankets outside The Store Gallery at Midland Junction Arts Centre. Photograph by Jess Boyce.
Five different installations will be presented as part of Multa Plenty over the seven week project. Transforming the gallery space every 1-2 weeks, the installations will reflect on different aspects of RalphKafarela’s experiences and her engagement with the local community. The first iteration Abundance on display from 22 June - 29 June will fill the gallery with an installation of donated sleeping bags, doonas and blankets collected over the last few months from members of the public.
From 3 July - 13 July Little Boxes presents an assemblage of cardboard houses made by schools and local community members in response to the ‘Housing First’ Initiative. Then from 17 July - 20 July A Place to Sleep takes the form of an immersive installation of found objects and archival images reflective of RalphKafarela’s time spent at Ashfield Infants Orphanage as a young child.
When Ralph-Kafarela later left home as a teenager she recalls carrying every single one of her possessions in just ten plastic bags, a situation not uncommon for many people dealing with homelessness. Ten Plastic Bags from 24 July - 27 July presents a mountain of donated survival hygiene items ready to be packed into bags and distributed to those in need.
From 31 July - 10 August as part of National Homelessness Week (4 -10 August) RalphKafarela will take Multa Plenty out to the streets to engage the public with free painting activities interpreting What is Home? The paintings will also be displayed in the gallery until the completion of the exhibition.
Deborah Ralph-Kafarela, Big House, Little House, Home (detail), 2018, timber and acrylic
The five unique installations will continuously transform the Midland Junction Arts Centre’s gallery space over the seven weeks and will be showcased in a closing event on Friday 9 August.
By involving the community in the creation of Multa Plenty through both donations and art activities, Ralph-Kafarela hopes to challenge preconceptions of rough sleepers, and encourage visitors to reflect on the excess in their lives and how they might share it with those in need.
Multa Plenty | Deborah Ralph-Kafarela
22 June – 10 August 2019
Closing Event Friday 9 August 6pm – 7:30pm
At the end of the project the donations of sleeping bags, hygiene and other items will all be distributed by Street Friends and DreamBuilders to rough sleepers and those facing homelessness. Donations to the project are welcome until 21 June.
More information can be found at: midlandjunctionartscentre.com.au
For media enquiries contact Jess Boyce, Communications Officer
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