Rafaela de Ascanio (b.1986, lives and works in London) studied at Central Saint Martins (2004), The Courtauld Institute of Art (MA, 2010) and Turps Banana Painting Programme (2019). De Ascanio’s paintings and sculptures work in tandem, compiling layers of iconography and exchanging symbols to explore the female experience through differing processes. Her paintings have a tropical colour palette, attributed to her early years spent in the volcanic Canary Islands. She hand-builds clay into anatomical forms that are glazed with flowing circular narratives and fired to create enduring stone bodies. De Ascanio portrays the female in defiant guises, empowering both her and the viewer. Images emerge from autobiographical events, fantastical symbols from sci-fi film and literature, esoteric pagan practices, and ‘fire and brimstone’ altarpieces. Disrupting the patriarchal narratives propagated throughout art history, she revisualises the female as the protagonist and leader, with sexual ownership, and psychological resilience.

Her solo exhibition Universal Yearnings opened at Liliya Art Gallery in May 2021. Other important exhibitions include Back to Back, Bowes Parris Gallery, (2021), Domesticity and the Feminine, curated by Josephine May Bailey (2021), Inside I Outside, Janet Rady Fine Art, Monster/Beauty: An Exploration of the Female/Femme Gaze, Lychee One, London (2020);Paintings On, And With Paper, Cob Gallery, London (2020); Clay Today: A Showcase Of Ceramics In Isolation, Cynthia Corbett Gallery (2020); A Room of One’s Own, The Koppel Project, London (2019).