Mechelle Bounpraseuth’s Ceramics Explore Food and Culture

Mechelle Bounpraseut’s miniature ceramics explore her identity as a first-generation daughter of Laotian refugees. The tiny ceramics include branded food and drink items that have become deeply rooted in our culture.

Raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, the Sydney-based artist was prevented from following her artistic dreams which led her to leaving the faith in her 20s, getting married, and fulfilling her artistic passions. She began by drawing and creating zines until she enrolled in a ceramics course and discovered her talent for the medium. Soon enough she was crafting household items in clay and bright colors.

One of her designs is a Heinz Ketchup bottle, a staple in many fridges throughout the world, which represents her family eating pho togetherβ€”a recipe that would take her family all day to create. These creations help her look back at her childhood and create new memories. Although her family passed down food traditions, other aspects like religion weren’t followed.

Are there foods that remind you of your childhood?

Check out more of the artists’ creations below.

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Tomato sauce| ນ້ ΰΊ³ ໝາກ ເΰΊ₯ΰΊ±ΰ»ˆΰΊ™| Nam mak len As a kid we always knew when we were having Pho for lunch because the process started early in the morning. I’d wake up to a huge pot bubbling away on the stove top. As the morning passed the smell of pho broth wafted through the house making your mouth water and your belly rumble. It was a labour of love getting the broth just right. I’d pick the tail off bean sprouts while my sister washed the herbs to garnish our Pho with, all under the watchful eye of our mum. When it was time to eat Mum would ask how many noodles we thought we could eat and then fill the bowls with steaming broth with even amounts of meat balls for all. We’d carry the bowls to the table one by one and then it was time to season. A little dash of soy, a spoonful of fish sauce, a bit of sugar, a sprinkle of pepper, a squeeze of lemon and a blob of tomato sauce. Tomato sauce made it sweet and tangy and oh so yum. Before I delved into the sea of noodles though I’d always ask mum to try my broth to see if it needed anything else. Sometimes I got it right, other times I’d need a little more of something to make it β€œPoh Dee (ΰΊžΰ»ΰΊ”ΰΊ΅)” which means just right in Lao, it’s that balance and sweet spot we’re all looking for, not just in Pho but life πŸ… . . . . #ceramics #australianceramics #art #clay #pottery #contemporaryceramics #artist #tomatosauce #pho

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