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Chelle Destefano, a Deaf artist, born in 1979 and currently lives in Melbourne, Victoria. She lived in Adelaide, South Australia for 18 years where she began her arts studies. She has been exhibiting since 2014.

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Artist at Work
Chelle Destefano, a Deaf artist, born in 1979 and currently lives in Melbourne, Victoria. She lived in Adelaide, South Australia for 18 years where she began her arts studies. She has been exhibiting since 2016 and one of her highlights was being one of the 8 artists in an Arts Exchange for Berlin with Arts Access Australia in October 2017 that gave her experience of working with other artists from different cultural backgrounds. They included workshops run by the artists and an exhibition as part of the Berlin arts festival.

She works with watercolour, ink, acrylic, gouache and mixed media to communicate her stories on past lives and living in the now. She is beginning to work in other artforms that include sculpture, art installations and performance art to compliment her visual art works.

Some of her works are compelling, particularly the works that go deep into the stories she shares about her Deaf culture, life of a Deaf person, experiences, stories about moments in life and perspectives of history. She communicates through spatial movements in her work that draw the viewers in to view, ponder and discuss, such as her Auslan Movements sculptural project she is working on at the moment.

Chelle has a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Applied Design (2006) from SA (South Australia) Arts School. She consistently works on a body of artwork of a particular theme at one time, to produce a moving series of works that are perfect for the exhibition environment.

Artist Statement

I dig deep, research deep, think deep and bring out what I feel and think onto canvas. One subject at a time. Each subject provokes thought, discussion and introspection in myself. I feel my past lives come through in my artworks and I treasure history in many forms.

I'm always home with my art, and not just the literal sense but in a mental and emotional sense. Art makes me who I am.

I explore my old memories, my face, my introspective mind. Once it was hard to express onto canvas and then I broke open the seal to introspection and through an arts exchange in Berlin, I found within myself all the hidden memories and memories tucked away that should be out on the canvas. History is important to me as is being in the present moment in creative expression.
ABOUT ME Image 1

Watercolour, acrylic, oil, mixed medium painting and sculpture (paper, wire, clay, found objects) and art installations


2019               Finalist in the Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize 2019
2019                Arts Activated Grant recipient by Moreland Council for Auslan Movement Performance
2019               Finalist in the Banyule Award for Works on Paper 2019
2019                Recipient of Creative Victoria grant for mentorship and Deaf arts project development
2018                Recipient of the Regional Arts Victoria Community Arts Grants for Bushfires of 2009
2018                Second prize winner in the major QLD Deaf arts exhibition
2018                Recipient of the microgrant for the Fringe Festival Melbourne
2018                Regional Arts Victoria grant recipient for the Sydney Other Art Fair
2016                Australian Arts Council grant - funding for Paris and London exhibitions
2016                Richard Llewellyn Arts grant – funding for Wait of World Exhibition in Melbourne


2020      May - Deaf Girl's Blank Canvas exhibition, No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne

2019      September - The Auslan Movement show (performance and exhibition), Melbourne Fringe Festival

2019     March - Wonthaggi ArtSpace Gallery, Wonthaggi, Victoria
            Abstract works of the 2009 Bushfire, commemorating the 10 year anniversary of Black Saturday

​2018     November - FernArtz Gallery, Coburg, Melbourne
           The story of the Baby Moon - a collection of illustrations

2018     September - Experimental Art Installation Exhibition of The Cot story
           Melbourne Fringe Festival, Avondale Heights Library Gallery space

2017     October - Berlin Pop Up Exhibition of Enchanted Collection with Arts Access Australia
              Berlin, Germany
              Workshop teaching, leading tour exhibition, studio work of Enchanted series and solo exhibition

2017      August - Volkys Collection in SALA Festival
              Dulwich Bakery, Dulwich, South Australia (matching the coffee cups they were printed on)
2016    September - Chelle's Collections in Paris!
            Galerie Metanoia, Paris, France
            Exhibition of ranges of collections including the popular Blue Ghost works, volky series, Europe 2015 works, and the Rainbow Abstract collection
2016    August - Wait of World II in SALA Festival
            City Library, Rundle Mall, Adelaide South Australia
2016    May - June - Wait of the World
            Gasworks, Art Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria
            Exhibition of works relating to the world changes and the perceptions within, A1 sized watercolour illustrations

Group Exhibitions
2019      November - Finalist Exhibition for the Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize, Noosa Regional Gallery, QLD

2019      August - Finalist Exhibition in the Banyule Art Prize, Hatch Contemporary Arts Space, Ivanhoe, Melbourne

2018     November - The Flow Festival, The Cot Story Extended

2018     August - The Other Fair, Melbourne, Australia

2018     May - The Skin Gallery show duo with Luke King. Exhibition of two Deaf artists

2018     March - The Other Fair, Sydney, Australia

2018     January - ArtSpace Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia

2018     January - Mornington Art Show, Victoria, Australia
            Me & Baby Moon portrait

2017     October - Rome Arts Expo
            Me & Baby Moon portrait



2019      Newspaper published story article on upcoming Auslan performance in the Melbourne Fringe, in il Globo, Melbourne, dated 4 September, 2019

2019      Published story article in Herald Sun / Moreland Leader paper on my upcoming Auslan Movement performance for the fring, dated 4 September 2019


2019      Newspaper (Bass News) an article on my arts career success

2019            Winning publication of my work on Arts Access Australia for 2019

2018            Write up on my exhibition in the Sydney Other Art Fair on Accessible Arts website

2017             Feature article by art packing specialists Pack and Send as one of their customers

2017             My artwork on coffee cup from Dulwich featured in Herald Sun

2017             Chelle's artworks on coffee cups at Dulwich bakeries featured in Adelaide's Advertiser 24 May 2017

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