Skippy’s skeletal remains are sprawled on a faux Persian rug. Surrounded by party debris, there are tell-tale signs of a bender. The rug framing his bones is accompanied by two variants that adorn the wall. Purchased from Bunnings, these bastardised products are the same size as a prayer mat. Lara has imprinted them with her mother’s hummus recipe; she’s reclaimed them, and the shimmering text now separates these rugs from the countless others circulating the country.
A close inspection of the debris reveals two burqa shaped bottle openers; the opening in the veil is just the right size and shape to flip the top off a stubby, and Skippy’s obviously done a fair bit of this. His teeth are everywhere too! Within the bottle tops, and teeth, there are bronze bullets, and chickpeas, though they could easily be mistaken for Skippy’s scat. A can of chickpeas dons an Australian flag and the vegemite labels are in Arabic, but this makes sense; Vegemite is halal. Sadly, Skippy didn’t get to finish the Vegemite toast he prepared. There’s also a hand-whittled pestle cast in bronze. The original object was made by Lara’s maternal grandfather, a wedding gift for his daughter. This bell-shaped implement just so happens to closely resemble an anti-tank grenade, a specialised explosive device used to defeat heavily armoured targets.
Lara Chamas is a first-generation Australian artist, her parents are Lebanese and migrated to Australia to escape the civil war. Lara is currently completing a Masters by Research at Monash University. Lara creates informed, provocative, and engaging work surrounding both Middle Eastern and Western culture and her in-betweenness within their constructs. By merging these cultures she aims to bring tradition into the contemporary sphere, to familiarise the unfamiliar, and by doing so addresses issues such as colonialism, refugees, racism, otherness, stigma, language, Islamophobia, terrorism and power relations within society.
Photos: Kate Davis