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In our guest post series, we invite alumni, staff and current students to reflect on their time with the VCA. A Mexican born Costume and Set Designer, Yunuen Pérez arrived in Australia in 2007 to study a Postgraduate Diploma in Production at the VCA. She was happy to find the college resembled a friendly artists´ community, where creativity was just as important as hard work.

There were only two students in the year I enrolled, so the attention of the teachers was closely focused on our personal and professional development. Their theoretical and practical projects were meticulously researched, and as a result were always rewarding and prepared me for the professional environment. The personalised training was of a high standard, allowing me to develop into a more disciplined and committed professional, and I was encouraged to always present pre-eminent outcomes.

'A Faraway Shore', Sissy M. Reyes Photographer, Yunuen Perez Production Designer
‘A Faraway Shore’, Sissy M. Reyes Photographer, Yunuen Perez Production Designer

I had the opportunity to collaborate with students from diverse disciplines and backgrounds, providing me with a multidisciplinary approach to any performing art practice. After graduation, I worked with many classmates on their own projects allowing me to feel part of the wider artistic community of the VCA and Melbourne. This confidence and training enabled me to start my career as a freelance Costume and Set Designer.

In 2011, I began working with cinematographer Sissy M Reyes, the result of the collaboration beingMex-tli, Mexican Goddesses, an exhibition at fortyfivedownstairs that reflects our own artistic practices, together with an emphasis on cross-cultural aesthetics and the power of the image.

'The Queen of Maize', Sissy M. Reyes Photographer, Yunuen Perez Production Designer
‘The Queen of Maize’, Sissy M. Reyes Photographer, Yunuen Perez Production Designer

This exhibition focuses on the stories, mythologies, work roles and costumes of Mexican indigenous women. We articulated our research in 12 self-portraits that will reveal a wide range of traditions, rituals and ultimately intricate layers of meaning, providing each one of these images with storytelling and cinematic qualities.

I am interested in bringing Costume and Production Design to the forefront of my projects. This collaboration with Sissy is the one of many to follow and the beginning of new artistic projects in Australia, Mexico and Europe.

Theatre collaborations include Laramie Project: Ten Years Later directed by Gary Abrahams for Red Stitch in 2011, and re-mount of the same play at the Arts Centre Melbourne in 2012.

Mex-tli, Mexican Goddesses with be exhibiting at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, May 7-18, 2013


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