Yia-Loren Gomez: Using her gifts

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A dancer/artist profile from Trinidad’s Express.

Twenty-four-year old Yia-Loren Gomez is a young lady of many talents. A ballerina, Gomez was just six years old when she put on her chiffon skirt and full sole ballet shoes to take her first dance steps at the Caribbean School of Dancing (CSD). Gomez went on to attain certificates of Merit and Distinction through the Royal Academy of Dance (UK) at CSD and in 2007 joined the Metamorphosis Dance Company, which emerged out of the CSD, where she is now an advanced level dancer and principal dancer.

Gomez has performed solo roles in several school productions and company concerts presented by the CSD and the Metamorphosis Dance School and in 2006 she had the honour of being chosen to perform “Steps In The Street” a piece choreographed by modern dance pioneer, Martha Graham.

As a dancer, she has represented Trinidad & Tobago on several occasions. In 2009, she performed for CHOGM, the audience of which included Queen Elizabeth II. She also danced with the company for the Summit of the Americas in that same year.

Gomez has also been building quite a name for herself in the field of visual arts.

With a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts, with upper Second Class Honours from The University of the West Indies (UWI), Gomez was among the design students and alumni to exhibit at the “Ministry of Design – From cottage industry to state enterprise”.

Naturally, Gomez was humbled at being among the chosen exhibitors.

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“It was indeed a great opportunity to network with other designers and to participate in discussions about how design can occupy a greater role on the national agenda,” she said.

Gomez’s presentation was a lighting project she designed while at UWI. The “Copper Wall Light” was part of her final year project where the area of interest was in applying movement to lighting.

The project was more of an exploration of materials and how they would successfully create the expression of movement through its materials, Gomez explained.

She was clearly inspired by her other love, dance, for the execution of this piece.

“To elaborate the background for this particular piece I wanted to emphasise specifically the movement of a dancer and the dynamism of her skirt and fabrics.

“The piece should be placed on a wall where the shadows can be casted, emanating a divine glow.”

As painstaking the moves of a ballet dancer, so too it was for Gomez to take her preliminary sketches into a comprehensive final design.

“The actual design is from a drawing of a dancer and her moving her Bele skirt . The swirls and swooshes seen in the drawing were defined and further analysed to create a balanced and satisfying composition. The light is an abstraction of this.”

Gomez chose copper to propel the design forward as it would reflect light from around it and behind it, unto the wall.

Gomez, who prefers simple, clean and effective lines, majored in graphic and product designing with a final year project consisting of lighting fixtures. Her materials consisted of steel, copper, brass and fabrics.

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Gomez believes that her lighting piece is just the start of beautiful, functional and creative things to come for her. She looks forward to creating more work with differing materials to further develop her statement as an artist and designer.

“I am intrigued about experimenting with more materials and manipulating them in the workshops using suitable technologies available.”

Gomez placed second in the National Youth Awards (in the category of Arts & Culture), and Gomez considers herself blessed to have been afforded opportunities and experiences through her art and dance – whether it is creating her design projects or touring with her dance company.

Gomez has been accepted into five Universities abroad (Leeds, UCA Rochester, Birmingham, Loughborough in UK and Savannah College of Arts & Design (SCAD) in the US. She is considering either SCAD or Loughborough as these universities best set the stage for her to to complete her masters for the works and knowledge she would like to achieve.

She is seeking and awaiting financial aid to go further. At the moment this setback is Gomez’s current challenge, but her mantra is to always remain positive even when things seem to be failing. It was a lesson, she said, that was taught to her by her deceased father before he succumbed to colon cancer.

“One of the major challenges for me was losing my dad at a very crucial time in my life.

“I was in the process of completing my CAPE examinations when he passed away. In 2008 he was diagnosed with cancer and from that time, he battled with the disease until 2010. “We struggled emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially. My dad had to undergo four major surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy and dialysis. My father was always a good spirit and a fighter. I continue to trod on keeping in mind his love and passion for life.

“I have a very supportive family, my mother, brother and I are very close-knit and they really push me to better myself. Although we do have our challenges, we keep our bonds strong and our hearts stronger.”

Getting back to her design work, Gomez believes that there is a Caribbean aesthetic that people either don’t appreciate or aren’t fully aware of.

“We have such a diversity in our small islands and it is amazing to witness the way in which we have become one melted pot of cultures. With that being said, we do have a Caribbean design somewhat present, however we need to further develop this sector — it does not appear as ‘necessary’ or ‘important’ to some people.

“I think it would definitely need to begin at an educational level and making aware the importance of what design is, in all aspects and how extremely vital it is to create a Caribbean design.”

Gomez would like to see a greater awareness of art and design in this country as it relates to facilities and outlets for young and emerging artists.

Gomez said the combination of dance and art has taught her discipline and focus.

“Being involved in these beautiful art forms has groomed me in such a way to appreciate expressing myself as well as learning how to balance and develop myself into an all rounded individual. I encourage parents to be there for their children and support them in whatever they do.

“My mom and dad have always been my backbone.

“The arts have always been very close to my heart and I look forward to continually sharing my knowledge and expressing my creativity positively”.

Yia Gomez is on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/YIA-Designs/61685993499713

https://www.behance.net/yialoren

For the original report go to http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20150724/features/yia-loren-gomez-using-her-gifts

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