Lia Tabrah is a Naarm (Melbourne) based artist and curator who practises in design, sculpture and installation. She founded her design and art house in 2008, and has exhibited extensively around Australia.
O.T.T (Over the Top) is the perfect acronym for Lia’s bold designs, which revel in the colourful spectacle of Australiana, kitsch, and wearable art.
Her work blurs the lines between the natural and the artificial in unexpected ways, bringing together a wide range of references including pop culture, tourism iconography, 80s style, Australian folklore, and the environment. A love of remote, outback Australia and an admiration for Australia’s First Peoples form the backdrop for much of her work.
She renders the grotesque glamorous using various techniques to redefine notions of beauty, luxury, vernacular forms, and high and low culture.
As an artist Lia enjoys collaborating with different generations. She embraces older, established creatives, regularly collaborating with iconic designers Kate Durham and Jenny Bannister.
Exhibitions, installations and events include Bendigo Art Gallery, Craft Victoria, Melbourne Design Week, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Museum of Old and New Art (Hobart), Melbourne Fashion Festival, Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, Carlton Club (Melbourne), Rockhampton Art Gallery, and Abandoned Boudoir (touring show).
In the media Lia has been featured in The Guardian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, the Herald Sun, Townsville Bulletin, VICE USA, Fallen Magazine, Fashion Journal, British Vogue, Z!NK Magazine, REVS magazine, 1883, Plaza Kvinna, Desktop Magazine, Artichoke Magazine and on ABC television and NHK Japan.
Over her multifaceted career, Lia has developed a passion for social justice. In 2016 she oversaw a fundraiser campaign Design for Refugees to raise money for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). In 2019 she collaborated with Kirsha Kaechele from the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) for her Eat the Problem exhibition and book, which transformed invasive species into art and haute cuisine.
The desire to use her creative inspirations and design aesthetic as a tool for social change and sustainability led to the formation of VERMIN the label with Perina Drummond. Their mission is to work with First Nations communities to turn the elusive cane toad pest into ethically sourced luxury leather products.