Mechelle Bounpraseuth’s Ceramic Art is an Ode to Her Laotian Roots

Art is a powerful tool to help us express our identities and passions and Mechelle Bounpraseut, a first-generation daughter of Laotian refugees, uses the medium to create ceramics of foods that are tied to her culture.

The Sydney-based artist was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, but she decided to leave the faith when she was in her 20s, which allowed her to get married and pursue her artistic dreams. She started with zines before enrolling in a ceramics course, where she found her calling. And before long, she was creating household items in bright, bold colors.

Her designs take her back to her childhood, and they mainly focus on condiments. One of her designs, a Heinz Ketchup bottle, which can be found in almost any fridge throughout the world, reminds her of her family spending all day making pho and sitting down at the table to season and eat it. While creating the ceramic, she makes new memories, and she reflects on the foods that she hopes to pass down to her family.

Some other ceramics she’s created included McDonald’s hot chips which she describes as “sacred,” Smith’s Salt & Vinegar chips, Cadbury Cherry Ripes, and fairy bread which she describes as “flavours of my youth.”

Are there any foods that you associated with your childhood? We know that we could name a few.