Big Head published in Anthology of Testimonial Plays (Bloomsbury/Methuen)

August 26, 2014

Big HeadTestimonial Plays, which examines the treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII and those now perceived as “the enemy” a post 9/11 world, is included in a new anthology from Methuen/Bloomsbury Press.  Edited by Alison Forsyth.  I’m honored that my work will sit along side writings by Anna Deavere Smith, Paula Cizmar, Tim Etchells of Forced Entertainment and many others.  Big Head was originally published by the beloved Kaya Press.


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Dreams & Silhouettes/Suenos y Siluetas (2014)

July 22, 2014


Dreams Website

Click here to watch.  Dreams and Silhouettes/ Sueños y Siluetas is a multidisciplinary installation that offers a performative response to the detentions and deportations affecting local residents.  Premiered January 2014 at the Center for Global Justice in Tucson, AZ.  Made possible with generous support from the Tucson Pima Arts Council P.L.A.C.E. grant and the MAPFund.

Press coverage


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Shooting Columbus (2014 – )

May 15, 2014

Shooting Columbus gathering

Back row, L to R: Klee Benally, Alex Soto, Chandra Narcia, Adam Cooper-Terán, Rachel Bowditch, Denise Uyehara, Front Row, Ryan Pinto and Tygel Pinto

We are excited to announce the launch of a new project, Shooting Columbus.  Our first devising session is made possible by a NET Travel Grant and was held at Arizona State University.

Shooting Columbus is an evening-length, interdisciplinary performance in which indigenous scientists build a time machine and go back in time to the Bahamian Islands to kill Columbus in 1492. During the course of the performance native people from an Alternate Timeline  interrupt and eventually take over the play.  These alternate characters are being developed in a series of devising workshops with artists from the Tohono O’Odham, Akimel O’odham, Yaqui and Diné nations.

The project examines ethics and consequences of time travel, with the United State’s continual genocide of native people serving as a backdrop. It also responds to anti-immigration law SB1070 – the “papers please” clause of which was recently upheld by the Supreme Court – that has spread fear throughout the South Tucson community. Native Americans, who have lived in the region for generations before the U.S.-Mexico border was drawn, are caught in the midst of this ongoing xenophobia.

Three award-winning artists, video/audio artist Adam Cooper-Terán, performance artist/playwright Denise Uyehara and ASU Theater director Rachel Bowditch will develop and premiere this evening-length work in Phoenix in 2015, with plans to subsequently tour nationally and abroad. All three artists hail from highly collaborative, interdisciplinary backgrounds. These artists will also work with a small ensemble of performers to ready the work for its premiere.

This project marks the fourth collaboration between Uyehara and Cooper-Terán since they began working together in 2008. Major past projects include BUS STOP DREAMING, a site-specific, interdisciplinary performance, located at sites of deportation in South Tucson (MAP Fund 2012, in collaboration with Jason Aragon/Pan Left) and ARCHIPELAGO, which explores Yaqui and Okinawan creation stories, reset in contemporary times of war and occupation (National Performance Network Creation Fund).

Big Mountain Training CampShooting Columbus is a long-term project that has already lead to some exciting adventures and research.  In the late spring, Klee Benally and Marie Gladue (Diné) invited Rachel Bowditch and I to attend the Big Mountain Spring Training Camp.  More than 80 people attended, including Diné elders and community leaders, and allies from the Black Mesa Indigenous Support and many others.  We learned about the ongoing resistance movement there by Diné and Hopi and activists.

“What we are trying to save—the Female Mountain—is alive,” says Marie Gladue, Big Mountain Relocation Resister.   “She is alive, she has blood flowing through her veins, which is the Navajo Aquifer, and the coal they are digging is Her liver. They are destroying Her.”




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Gracias from the Dreams/Sueños Team

January 27, 2014


SOUTH TUCSON – We want to thank the community for coming out to see Dreams and Silhouettes/Sueños y Siluetas at the Center for Global Justice.  It was so exciting to perform to a packed house — and what a diverse crowd! We were so moved by your energy, support and feedback.  Special thanks to our community partners: Las Promotoras, Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Pan Left Productions and the Center for Global Justice.  Check out the media coverage on the project and artist notebook.

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Dreams & Silhouettes Press Coverage

January 23, 2014

AZ Illustrated video

"Without Papers" Tucson Weekly article, by Margaret Regan“Without Papers”
Tucson Weekly article, by Margaret Regan

“Border Issues Visualized by Art”
review in the Daily Wildcat
University of Arizona

“Llevan al teatro ‘Sueños y Siluetas’”
de los deportados

and on Carolyn’s Community News,

Dreams & Silhouettes/Sueños y Siluetas
Saturday January 25, 2014, 7p.m.
Global Justice Center
225 E. 26th St. (just west of 4th Ave.)
Tucson, AZ 85713
Show details


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Gathering the stories for Dreams and Silhouettes

January 21, 2014

Adam_LidaWe’re down to the home stretch with the Dreams and Silhouettes production. This multidisciplinary installation is based on stories from Las Promotoras and others from the local Tucson community.  We’re so thankful to get to work with these fierce women and inspired and humbled by their stories.  A special thanks to Lidia Terán-Cooper (pictured here with Adam) who shared her stories and also did some final voice over poetry for us.

Show is Saturday, January 25, 7pm.  Come early – we expect a crowd!

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Live shadow painting in progress for Dreams & Silhouettes

January 10, 2014

Deep in production….

Wesley Creigh, after a live painting created with Christina Cardenas

Wesley Creigh, after a live painting created with Christina Cardenas

Wesley painting in the "shadow" of a local resident who has been deported

Wesley painting in the “shadow” of a local resident who has been deported

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make the invisible more visible.  How do you represent someone who is undocumented, who lives with constant threat of deportation, without making them more vulnerable?  We conducted a workshop with Las Promotoras, the women of Derechos Humanos who help educated the public about their rights.  In the workshop we explored peoples dreams and aspirations, then had them write a letter to someone they loved as if this dream had come true.  These letters are played back as audio clips in the Shadows scene from the show.

Meanwhile, performers stand in for those they know who have been deported, created a shadow on the wall, which magically reverses to a white shadow.

Above is a photo of Wesley Creigh in a test run – painting in the “shadows” representing those deported.  Melo and Wesley will both be painting, along with Adam’s animation playing in tandem with their artistry.

Click here for details on this free performance in South Tucson.



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Dreams and Silhouettes team at work at the Global Justice Center

December 13, 2013

As the Winter Solstice approaches….

Jason Aragon, Adam Cooper-Teran and I have been working closely with women from Las Promotoras (the community wing of Derechos Humanos) on a new, community-inspired performance installation, Dream & Silhouettes, or Suenos y Siluetas.  The event will take place Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at the new Global Justice Center, which houses some fierce human rights groups based in South Tucson.  This summer The Alliance for Global Justice purchased the old Stardust Ballroom and renovated it to provide office space for all these groups — and they kept the ballroom for performances and conferences. (The photo above is courtesy of The Gloo Factory, a community minded union print shop located directly across the street)

Work by Melo Dominguez

Work by Wesley Creigh

Through workshops, meet ups and Jason’s in-depth one-on-one interviews, The Dreams and Silhouettes team has collected stories from Las Promotoras and other people from the community who are most affected by recent detentions and deportations in Tucson.  Adam is working his magic to mix their interviews into fantastic sound and video montages.


Visual artists Mel “Melo” Dominguez and Wesley Creigh will be painting “silhouettes” live during the evening. Performers include Yvonne Montoya of Safos Dance Theater and Marc Pinate and rumor has it the Border Patrol Trixter will make an appearance once again.

Hope you can step out for this free show on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014!  Click here for more on Dreams and Silhouettes.

- Denise

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Dreams and Silhouettes premieres at the Global Justice Center Saturday Jan. 25, 7pm, Tucson

November 15, 2013

Mark your calendars!
Dreams & Silhouettes/Sueños y Silhuetas
Saturday January 25, 2014, 7p.m.
Global Justice Center
225 E. 26th St., Tucson, AZ 85713
Just out! “Without Papers” Tucson Weekly Article

Video (from MOCA-Tucson show)
Inside scoop in Artist Notebook
Facebook Event Page
High Resolution Photos and Press Release

Dreams & Silhouettes is multi-disciplinary performance installation inspired by communities in Tucson and near the border that live with militarization, detention, and deportation.

By award-winning filmmaker Jason Aragon of Pan Left Productions, performance artist Denise Uyehara and video artist Adam Cooper-Teran.  Featuring stories from Las Promotoras of Derechos Humanos and members of the community, with visual artists Melo Dominguez, Lawrence Gipe and Wesley Creigh, performers Marc Pinate and Yvonne Montoya.

Made possible with generous support from the Tucson Pima Arts Council PLACE Grant and the MAP Fund

Sabado, 25 Enero, 2014, 7p.m.
Global Justice Center
225 E. 26th St., Tucson, AZ 85713

Sueños y Silhuetas es la instalación actuación multidisciplinar inspirado en las comunidades en Tucson y cerca de la frontera que viven con la militarización, la detención y la deportación.


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“Shedding Light on Memory and the Occupied Body” performative talk, Pitzer College

February 04, 2013

Denise Uyehara

  • I’m excited to announce I’ll be an Activist/Artist-in-Residence (AAIR) this February and March at the Claremont Colleges in Southern California. Activities include:Opening Performative Talk:
    “Shedding Light and the Occupied Body”
    February 13th, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
    Benson Auditorium, Pitzer
    Community and class workshop showing:

    Saturday, March 9, 3pm, Kallick Family Gallery at Pitzer College

AAIR is the signature project of the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies at the Claremont Colleges, offering public events and workshops with activists and professional artists representing diverse cultures and art forms that are usually not part of “traditional” college curricula. More…

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Bus Stop Dreaming in Casa Libre’s Edge 50 series, Jan 23

January 22, 2013

Yvonne Montoya and Denise Uyehara, Bus Stop Dreaming, MOCA-TucsonDenise Uyehara/Yvonne Montoya perform excerpts from Bus Stop Dreaming (the roving unplugged version!) as part of an evening of poetry and performance, presented by Edge 50: a Reading Series of Emerging and Younger Writers.  Evening also features work by Cybele Knowles, Sueyeun Juliette Lee.

Wednesday, January 23, 
7:30 p.m.
Suggested Donation: $5
Casa Libre
228 N. 4th Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85705
view video here

Bus Stop Dreaming is a series multi-disciplinary performances that appear at community sites around Tucson in response to the ongoing deportations of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the city. Bus Stop is a collaboration between documentary filmmaker Jason Aragon of Pan Left Productions and performance artist Denise Uyehara, with Yvonne Montoya of Safos Dance Theater, video/audio artist Adam Cooper-Terán.  interviews and footage from residents of South Tucson.  Made possible in part by the MAP Fund and the P.L.A.C.E./Open Society Fund from the Tucson Pima Arts Concil. More…

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ASU Intermedia Performance Class showing Dec. 5, 2012

November 28, 2012

This fall 2012 I was invited to teach Intermedia Performance at Arizona State University, Tempe.  The Intermedia Program is part of the School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.  We had a great time creating performance, movement and installations, culminating in a final performance.  Three cheers for ASU Intermedia students!  Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Photos by David Moreno, additional photos by Mikey Estes.  Featuring work by Alex Levy, Terrance Kelsy, Brandon Beren, Dave Moreno, Blake Payan, Tracy Fairfield, Mikey Estes, Yixuan Wang, Morgan Sweazy, Gabriel Lopez, Chungling Paul Liu, Edgar Noriega, Kiley Bishop.


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