Jawa Runa

Alessandra Dueñas

Based on her own experiences as an immigrant, Alessandra Dueñas’ animated project JAWA RUNA reflects the ups and downs of a journey of integration into a new culture.

The animation follows the structure of a retablo – a type of Peruvian folk art that is widely used to preserve indigenous narratives, but adapts it for modern storytelling with the use of digital animation. The film benefits from the artist’s cultural background by employing traditional Peruvian imagery and music to represent the important stages of an immigrant's story: the departure from home, the excitement, the isolation, the loss of identity, and the eventual reassurance and self-discovery.

In both form and message, JAWA RUNA aims to showcase the creation of new identities by combining old and new.

Alessandra Dueñas

I am an illustrator and animator from Lima, Peru. I like to combine different media types to narrate sob stories, only in the brightest colors.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

If something I learned from the pandemic, the future is uncertain. But if I can dream, I would love to already have worked for the animation or gaming industry, have published a graphic novel, illustrated children's books, and be the owner of a small business.

What is a good design for you?

One that tells an interesting story through its formal elements.

What was the most challenging experience during your studies?

Trying to adapt to new challenges while creating art. These past few years have been eventful: I left home, started living alone in a country so different and far away from mine. Then, the pandemic and lockdown forced me to stay in Peru but continue by studying at night and early morning. I also lost my dad during that time. It was hard to stay motivated about art and projects and pressure, but it also helped me as an outlet for those emotions.

Who or what inspires you?

Untold stories, strong emotions, beautiful landscapes of daily life - and artists who can effectively showcase those.

How do you approach a new project?

First, research. You can't completely devote yourself to something you don't understand. I create mood boards for inspiration and study, but at some point, I also just start drawing. It can take me ages to find one idea I'm happy with, but when I do, I have to work until I finish it.

What advice would you give to students who just started studying in your programme?

Be careful not to see homework/projects as a duty. Instead, try to see it as an opportunity to explore and present your art. Remember, you don't draw because you are happy, you are happy because you draw.

Have you changed during your studies? How?

The difference is like night and day. I not only grew as an artist but also as a person. I'm much more confident making my own decisions, facing problems, and getting out of my comfort zone. I learned how to be alone without feeling alone, how to find family in a home away from home, and of course, how to cook a killer pasta dish without setting my kitchen on fire.

Why did you choose to study in your programme?

Illustration is a world of possibilities: it is the only career that allows me to work on projects about any subject I want to learn more about. Without deep research and understanding, restructuring and reflecting the theme through art wouldn't be possible.

What are you not going to miss in your studies?

Deadlines. I know I'll have to face them again in the future, but I'm looking forward to working at my own rhythm for a change.

How are you going to celebrate your graduation?

By hugging my mom : )

Say hi!

Jennifer Presche