Wood waste in­spires mi­grant fam­ily

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Pia van Straalen

IN 2011 when the Arab Spring protests reached Syria, the Omeri fam­ily didn’t know what to ex­pect or how long it would last.

The ar­chae­ol­o­gists worked in Da­m­as­cus, out in the field among the ru­ins Ibrahim Omeri had ded­i­cated more than 25 years of his life to; but it had be­come too dan­ger­ous.

His wife Suzan Robeh was equally en­thralled by the an­cient struc­tures, the sto­ries they held and the deep con­nec­tion they had to the city of Da­m­as­cus, where the ru­ins stood in the streets.

The be­gin­nings of the Syr­ian Civil War made city liv­ing im­pos­si­ble and the pair moved to a small farm, grow­ing veg­eta­bles and con­tin­u­ing their work.

By 2014 the cou­ple made the de­ci­sion to leave for good, ap­ply­ing for a visa and mov­ing to Perth three months later.

Today, not much is left of the life they once lived.

“My fam­ily is in Da­m­as­cus, and Suzan’s fam­ily is north of there… these ar­eas still be­long to the As­sad regime and it is safer,” Mr Omeri said.

“Many cities have dis­ap­peared; go­ing back it would not be the same Syria we come from.

“Most of our friends have left. If I went back I don’t think I would find any­one… you can’t go back to a de­stroyed stone-aged coun­try.”

Mr Omeri said the cou­ple chose to leave for Aus­tralia, to make a life some­where safe. “We left ev­ery­thing; our house our land, we left our fam­i­lies and we re­signed from our work,” he said.

Bring­ing just their sons Adon (6) and Aram (5) and the eight books writ­ten be­tween them, the fam­ily ar­rived in Perth which, in Ms Robeh’s opinion, is the hap­pi­est place on earth.

“In Syria I watched MasterChef Aus­tralia, I feel like I saw all of Aus­tralia through that pro­gram, it was beau­ti­ful,” she said.

“One day they showed a school and you could see the mul- ti­cul­tural stu­dents and they looked so happy and I just wanted to see my chil­dren there.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to find a place any­where in the world where any­one from around the world can feel happy… I’m talk­ing about com­mu­nity.”

Ms Robeh said she yearned for the his­tory and the old build­ings of Syria, each with sto­ries go­ing back thou­sands of years.

“I re­ally miss the feel­ing of his­tory in Da­m­as­cus; you walk in the streets and see old houses and see thou­sands of sto­ries, build­ings have nov­els of their lives, but here it is new, beau­ti­ful but new,” she said.

“The first time we went to Fre­man­tle I loved the old build­ings, I left part of me there it is so beau­ti­ful and I feel the emo­tion in the build­ings.” PERTH, de­void of ru­ins and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal points of in­ter­est, piqued a dor­mant pas­sion for fur­ni­ture de­sign in Ibrahim Omeri and his wife Suzan Robeh.

In­spired af­ter see­ing wood dumped on verges, the cou­ple be­gan build­ing and designing con­tem­po­rary pieces for the home.

Wood, not freely avail­able in Syria, is the pre­dom­i­nant ma­te­rial, mixed with steel and glass.

“We saw this wood on the side of the road and in Syria there is no wood, so it was hard to watch it thrown away and turned to mulch, so we felt we had to make some­thing,” Mr Omeri said.

Ms Robeh said her love of in­te­rior de­sign led her to be­com­ing deeply in­volved in each piece of fur­ni­ture, each named af­ter an ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site in Syria.

“We have taken it, re­shaped it and given it back to the com­mu­nity as art,” she said.

“Some peo­ple de­scribe it as retro, or in­dus­trial, but I con­sider it con­tem­po­rary and it is a mix of dif­fer­ent styles.”

The com­pany, Outlook Decor, is in a ware­house in Como where the cou­ple de­sign and make the works. They now have a col­lec­tion of 40 pieces.

“I feel like our pieces will be liked by women and men, they are each some of me and some of Ibrahim, so cou­ples will all like it,” Ms Robeh said.

“We are do­ing this be­cause we al­ready lost some­thing very pre­cious to us, so we want to do some­thing we love, some­thing that ex­presses us.”

To view the works go to www.out­lookdecor.com.au.

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d451810

Ibrahim Omeri and Suzan Robeh at home with their sons Adon and Aram, and some of the pieces they have made from re­cy­cled wood.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.