Leafa graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art from Otago Polytechnic School of Fine Art in 1986, seeing much success as an artist and curator. Messing with her Samoan, German heritage, a large part of Leafa's focus is scrutinising ideologies that shape our social conduct or cultural expectations and providing a subaltern voice. "...I find myself in liminal spaces where discomfort is the most evident state of being and a place that I feel most comfortable. I enjoy the comfort/discomfort and sense of displacement that
In her exhibition Ich Helsse Olga Hedwig Krause Leafa offers herself as a site of contest, interrogating her identity as Samoan/German-Colonised/Coloniser. Incorporating a soundtrack by the German group Kraftwerk, authenticating her German heritage through her grandfather's birth certificate, Leafa projected images of herself overlaid by images of women who looked more 'typically' German.
As a curator Leafa distinguished herself through the group exhibition, Dolly mix (w) rapper (2002) thanks to the efforts of Jakki Leota-Ete who was the institutional curator Pasifika and Maori at Waikato Museum at that time. This exhibition revealed and embraced the diversity of Samoan experience and art practice and stands as the first and most comprehensive exhibition of Contemporary Samoan woman artists to date. As both curator and artist Leafa continues to juxtapose dichotomies and difference, bringing into proximity disparate elements, artists of varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Working in different contexts, genres and mediums, she states; "I am looking for the utopia of perfect race relations - an ideal and perfect place where everyone lives in harmony."
Leafa has worked on a variety of collective projects in Kirikiriroa, Hamilton, with the UNDERWATER COLLECTIVE - in a stencil art show entitled 'Post-digital Primitive' and with the New Friends Contemporary Art Space she was the subject of scrutiny as a savage Loga Erasuk in her show ANTRHO.101 which was a performance based work including Dr Nichola Harcourt and Faith Wilson acting as anthropologists and religiolists. Other exhibitions during include Still, Like Air, I'll Rise, ST PAUL St Gallery, Auckland, 2017; Fa’amanaia, Artstation, 2014; Ich Helsse Olga Hedwig Krause, Burke Museum, University of Washington, Seattle, Sofa Gallery, Christchurch, 2006; Delineate, Chartwell Gallery, 2006. Leafa also works as Contemporary Art Curator at the Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.