See article in its original context here by Victor Perton, ANZMEX President
Next month, Melbourne will see an interesting photographic exhibition Mex-tli, Mexican Goddesses that consists of 12 images created by artists Yunuen Pérez Martínez and Sissy M. Reyes. It will be exhibited in one of my favourite galleries forty-five downstairs. I was lucky enough to catch up with the artists and have them answer a few questions for ANZMEX members and our friends.
How did you come to settle in Australia?
YP: I came to Australia in 2007 to study a Postgraduate Diploma at the Victorian College of the Arts. After graduation, I stayed in Melbourne as my partner is studying a PhD. I have been working in the Melbourne arts scene since 2007.
SR: I came to Australia as a student. It was not my intention to stay but I started getting jobs in film production and advertising so I decided to stay a bit longer. I want to live in Mexico as well but for now, my career is developing in Australia.
What do you enjoy the most about living in Australia?
YP: I enjoy the multicultural experience in the everyday life. I also believe Melbourne is a cultural hub in high demand and working as a designer in this city is enriching due to the multidisciplinary projects you can get involved.
SR: I was intrigued about the relationship between the country’s rich cultural diversity and what I thought was an unfulfilled sense of identity of “what it means to be Australian”. In Mexico, cultural identity though complex is very loud, colourful and clear but Australian culture is much more subtle. Getting to know these subtleties has made me enjoy and appreciate life here much more.
How did you become an artist?
YP: I have always been involved in artistic projects. My parents gave me the opportunity to study music, theatre, dance and acting. It was during my last year in University at UDLA-P in Mexico when I decided to be professional about it and I completed one year in Theatre Studies and Production Design. Later, I came to Australia to specialize further in Costume and Set Design.
SR: Since I was 9 years old, I knew I wanted to be involved in filmmaking. I spent school holidays writing and recording video films with my dad’s old hand-me-down Hi-8 video camera. This is how I fell in love with the image and wanted to pursue a career in that field. After working as a Cinematographer on short films as well as in advertising, I started craving to tell stories that where close to me in a more meaningful, visceral and truer sense. This was the time when Yunuen and I started talking about working together.
Who influenced you and what training did you do?
YP: Many people and artistic movements inspire me, but if I have to choose one, Yinka Shonibare MBE has become a great influence in my work and to what I want to be as a costume artist. I am grateful to all my professors in Mexico and Australia, Skip Battaglia, Richard Roberts and Dale Ferguson, to mention a few.
SR: I have a BA in Communications at the UDLA-P, Mexico and a Masters of Media Arts and Production at the UTS in Sydney, but where I have absolutely learned the most has been from watching movies and on the job. My artistic influences come mostly from cinema. I grew up admiring film makers like Pedro Almodovar, Terrence Malick, the Cuarón/Lubezki duo and Werner Herzog to name a few. A very strong inspiration for Mextli was photographer Gregory Crewdson. His ‘cinematic’ photography pulls you into a story as he thoughtfully places small but meaningful elements into the image, which, as a viewer, you can spend hours trying to figure out.
What can people expect to see in your exhibition?
Both: We aim to challenge the stereotypical representation of Mexican women frequently presented in the media. In our exhibition, the beholders will see character portraits presented in surreal narratives and symbolic Australian settings. They can expect to be intrigued, awed and challenged with the women portrayed in our images
What’s next for you?
YP: I am a passionate of traditional embroidery techniques. My next project involves one character, four countries and four costumes.
SR: Well this year I finished shooting two independent short films and developing two more, one of which I will be directing myself. So, I guess what is next for me is to take the jump and do my first film as a Director/Cinematographer! It is a very exciting time.
Photograph above: Sissy M. Reyes Photographer, Yunuen Perez Production Designer
Credit Line: Usage and Licensing Terms and Conditions for the publishing of De las Manos by ANZMEX WebsiteMedia: Online only
Placement: Single online placement only.
Size: Custom to this imageUsage duration: 3 months from first publication.
The following credits must accompany the reproduction of the image(s):
Sissy M. Reyes Photographer, Yunuen Perez Production Designer
All reproductions of the work other than the one authorised in these terms and conditions require written authorization from both Sissy M. Reyes & Yunuen Perez