Rafaela de Ascanio


"My paintings and sculptures work in tandem, compiling layers of iconography and exchanging symbols to explore the female experience through differing processes." - Rafaela de Ascanio

Informed by science fiction, heroic female protagonists in literature, folk law and esoteric pagan practices, Rafaela de Ascanio's pieces have an archaeological aura. They almost appear as votive objects unexpectedly uncovered from the depths. Despite contemporary colour palates, largely informed by growing up in the tropical volcanic Canary Islands, the sculptures in particular, have an irreducible timeless quality. 
Ascanio explores the female experience through iconographical symbols and diverse references throughout her practice, with each element working in tandem towards building an image of woman as empowered, heroic, self-sufficient, and resilient. Her sculptures bear the marks of the maker’s hand, creating an intimacy between the artist, the work and the viewer, and connecting us to the grounded yet spiritual notion of femininity central to the overall approach. 
Rafaela de Ascanio (b.1986) lives and works in London. She completed a Fine Art Foundation at Central St Martins in 2006, then went on to study at The Courtauld Institute of Art, completing an MA in 2010. In 2019, Rafaela attended the Turps Banana Painting Programme.
Recent solo exhibitions include: The Pump House (Berntson Bhattacharjee, London, 2022) and Universal Yearnings (Liliya Gallery, London, 2021). Duo shows include: Sexing the Cherry (Tristan Hoare Gallery, London, 2023); Back to Back (Bowes Parris Gallery, London, 2021), The Deccan Traps (Aindrea Contemporary, London, 2019) and The Body is a Blessed Juicy Fruit (Lamb, London, 2018). Duo shows include: Back to Back (Bowes Parris Gallery, London, 2021), The Deccan Traps (Aindrea Contemporary, London, 2019) and The Body is a Blessed Juicy Fruit (Lamb, London, 2018). Recent group shows include: Swamp Legends, (Terrace Gallery, London, 2022), Wave, (Cob Gallery, London, 2022), Conjure curated by Chantal Powel, (Arusha, The Old Silk Barn, Somerset, 2022), Cracked, (Tristan Hoare, London 2021), Focus on the Female, (Cynthia Corbett Gallery, London 2021), Monster/Beauty: An Exploration of the Female/Femme Gaze (Lychee One, London, 2020) and Paintings On, And With Paper (Cob Gallery, London, 2020).
In 2021, Rafaela received the Young Masters Emerging Artist Award and was shortlisted for Mother Art Prize in 2022. She has been featured by Elephant Magazine, The Wick, FAD Magazine, The Art Newspaper and Ceramics Now.