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2021

"Street to Street: Phase One"

Shelter WA Artist-in-Residence Deborah Ralph-Kafarela 

 Exhibition at Artsource Old Customs House Fremantle Western Australia 2021

Shelter WA Artist in Residence Deborah Ralph-Kafarela: Founder and Project Manager. The Stencil Designs were co-created with Mentor Denise V Brown and Wajack Noonga Artist Jeanette Garlett. Art Workshops were co-facilitated with Denise V Brown. Eighty nine people with Lived Experience of Housing Insecurity and Homelessness  through a collective voice shared their vision of permanent housing. Deborah Ralph-Kafarela also exhibited other works from previous Solo Shows and Residencies related to Human Rights. The body of work quiets the mind with the use of materiality of wood, ink, wax, and photography.  

Artist Statement 

Deborah Ralph-Kafarela

Street to Street : Phase 1

The Street to Street Art Project was a conceptual  idea since 2019 our Shelter WA 2021 Artist in Residence Deborah Ralph-Kafarela had two years
ago after having completed the Multa Plenty Art Project at Midland Junction Arts Centre in 2019. The Multa Plenty Art
Project was a Social Art Experiment, where, over a period of 18 months of Community and Key Stake Holder Engagement;
Through Community Art Workshops; Co-Created and delivered a 10 week Art Residency and Exhibition of six large scale
sculptural installations; The data collected showed just under 2000 people were involved in the Multa Plenty Art Project;
Businesses, Schools, Churches, General Community, Local and State Government responded to the Western Australian
Strategy to End Homelessness Housing First Plan 2018-2028; The Community engaged in exceptional art making, creating
dynamic installations, and contributed to supporting people experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness.
Continuing Social Art, Social Activism with a Conceptual focus on Ending Homelessness through the Arts Street to Street
Phase One 2021, engaged people experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness; Co-designing permanent housing;
Giving voice to the voiceless; Co-Facilitating 6 x Art Workshops Deborah Ralph-Kafarela and Artist Mentor Denise V Brown
at Ruah, Tranby and St Pats Homeless Connect Community Centres; 89 people participated in co-designing housing.
First Nation Artist Jeanette Garlett designed 2 x A4 drawings that were converted into stencils to support First Nation
peoples in creating the Street to Street Sculptural Installation. Artist Mentor Denise V Brown and Deborah Ralph-Kafarela
designed 50 x A4 drawings of everyday objects furniture; kitchen; bathroom; plants; tap water that make a home a home.
Our collaborations as 3 Professional Artists enriched the experience of our community arts engagement by our diverse art
practices and cultural heritage. The Street to Street Sculptural Installation was an example of all our work and our 89
co-artists with Lived Experience of homelessness.
The exhibition opening was held in collaboration with Shelter WA End of Year Celebrations and held at Artsource, Old
Customs House, Fremantle on 16 December 2021 The opening was a huge success with 130 people attending,
predominately the Homelessness Non for Profit Sector, Local and State Government, Lived Experience of Homelessness, St
Pats Starlight Choir and Artists. The Artsource Director Peter Grant was delighted in the exhibition, and he stated, ‘what a
delight to have an exhibition that helps community and has meaning’. Peter asked us to extend another four days so he
could show the Board. Phase
Two of Street to Street: Refurbishing a street of houses through the Arts e.g.: Rick Lowe Project Row Housing in the US.
There were another 100 people who viewed the works throughout the five-day exhibition.
Deborah states, ‘As an artist who uses a minimalist approach in pallet and material, I incorporated into the exhibition a
cameo of other art works related to homelessness and human rights with the Street to Street Sculptural Installation. The
cameo body of work gave a continuity in conceptual base and materiality in the use of wood, ink, pen, wax, and pigment in
my own art practice. The entire body of work spanning over years spoke to each other in the gallery space.

Photos of Artists Planning, Material Processes, Research and Workshop Preparation
SHELTER WA ARTIST IN RESIDENCE DEBORAH RALPH-KAFARELA

Artist Mentor Denise V Brown worked closely with me as Mentor through the entire
Street to Street Art Project Phase One. Although Denise has no Lived Experience of
Homelessness, Denise understood through her own disabilities with dyslexia and
Mobility that many people on the streets have literacy and mobility challenges.
Denise came up with the idea of stencils for the workshops to support all levels of
artistic endeavor.

 

Shelter WA Artist in Residence Deborah Ralph-Kafarela and
Mentor Artist Denise V Brown designed hundreds of drawings to
create stencil templates for our six Homelessness Community
Centre Workshops at Tranby, Ruah and St Pats.
The drawings were transposed into stencils and enabled our
Lived Experience Artists to co -design future housing and to
participate at any level of drawing skill. The stencils were a vital
tool for trauma informed art workshops where people could
engage in art making for five minutes or three hours.

 

Very early in the planning stages of Street to Street Phase One, I realized that we needed to have a First
Nation Artist collaborate with Denise V Brown and I to create a more inclusive art workshop experience for
people experiencing Housing Insecurity and Homelessness at the Community Centres. Jeanette was
Commissioned to Design 2 x A4 Drawings responding to a coming together as a community through the Arts
to create Permanent Housing - Artists; Lived Experience of Homelessness; Sector; Local and State
Government and the healing that would take place for the homeless permanently housed with wrap around
support.
Jeanette told us to only allow First Nation from her Wheat Belt Mob to use the Designs in their drawings
during the art workshops. With permission from Jeanette, we created stencils from Jeanette’s designs. The
drawings became a vital part of inclusion of First Nation experiencing homelessness in giving voice through
the Arts towards a permanent house. We had 89 artists co -create with us at the Community Centres and
half of which were First Nation.
I was referred to Artist Jeannette Garlett by her granddaughter Shemeka whom I had mentored when I was
a ABS Census Local Engagement Officer in 2021 and employed Shemeka into a Census Field Officer position
for Homelessness Enumeration. Jeanette and I instantly became friends and we connected through our
Lived Experience of Homelessness. As Professional Artists we understood the power the Arts can have in
becoming the driver of social change, ‘transforming the social environment’ as Artist Rick Lowe’s example of
Project Row Housing.
We also understood the processes of Social Art, Activism in Art, in bringing a whole community together to
enable ‘cultural democracy’. The TATE definition of community art evolved out of the idea of cultural
democracy. ‘Cultural democracy describes practices in which culture and artistic expression are generated
by individuals and communities rather than by institutions of central power. Cultural democracy seeks to
democratise culture to bring about an awareness and appreciation of art to as wide a section of society as
possible and to break down boundaries between high and low culture to make art accessible to a wider
audience.