Denise Uyehara is an award-winning, interdisciplinary performance artist, writer and playwright whose work has been presented across the U.S. and in London, Vancouver, Helsinki and Tokyo. For over two decades she has investigated what marks us in our migration across borders of identity through interdisciplinary performance. Uyehara’s work has been hailed as “powerful…intimate and elegiac” by the Los Angeles Times. She is a recent recipient of the MAP Fund, the National Performance Network Creation Fund and a fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council (see complete listing below). A founding member of the Sacred Naked Nature Girls, she conducts workshops for artists and a wide range of communities – LGBTQ, women, people of color – and is a frequent lecturer at colleges and universities. Her book Maps of City & Body: Shedding Light on the Performance and Process of Denise Uyehara (Kaya Press, 2004) documents her process.
Curriculum Vitae (downloadable pdf)
Denise Uyehara is an interdisciplinary performance artist, writer and playwright who has been creating work since 1989. Her performances have been presented across the United States (the Walker Art Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Highways Performance Space), and internationally (the Institute for Contemporary Art in London, the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki, Dokkyo Performance Studies Conference and the Morishita Studio in Tokyo, Women in View Festival in Vancouver). She is a frequent university lecturer.
Recent works include “Dreams & Silhouettes/Suenos y siluetas,” a collaborative performance installation inspired by communities in Tucson and near the border that live with militarization, detention and deportation. “Archipelago” a duet with video artist Adam Cooper-Terán follows a thread of fire and flood through Yaqui and Okinawan origin stories. “The Senkotsu (Mis)Translation Project,” and interdisciplinary performance installation which explores the U.S. military occupation in Okinawa; and “Big Head”, links the U.S. government’s incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II with treatment of those perceived as “the enemy” now, including Arab Americans, Muslims, and South Asian Americans. Earlier works include “Hello (Sex) Kitty: Mad Asian Bitch on Wheels,” “Headless Turtleneck Relatives,” and “Maps of City & Body.” She was a founding member of the Sacred Naked Nature Girls, an experimental, multicultural performance collective.
Uyehara has received numerous awards which include the mid-career C.O.L.A. Award from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, a Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and funding from the Asian Cultural Council, the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. She was a Poets & Writers ‘Writer on Site’ at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Beyond Baroque Literary Center. Uyehara was a member of the California Arts Council Touring Roster. (details below)
She teaches workshops in the community, and has taught performance for the Dept. of World Arts & Cultures at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and for the Depts. of Asian American Studies and Studio Arts at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
Education: BA in Comparative Literature (UCI) and an MFA from the Dept. of World Arts & Cultures (UCLA).
Publications: Maps of City & Body: Shedding Light on the Performance and Process of Denise Uyehara (Kaya Press, 2004). Her work also appears in O Solo Homo, Asian American Drama, Getting Your Solo Act Together, and The Asian Pacific American Journal, and as part of Meiling Cheng’s In Other Los Angeleses: Multicentric Performance Art.
• Network of Ensemble Theaters Travel Grant (Shooting Columbus collective) 2014
• MAP Fund 2011-2012 (with Pan Left Productions and Jason Aragon)
• National Performance Network Creation Fund 2009
• Asian Cultural Council Fellowship
• COLA Fellowship 2005-2006
• Project Grant, Arizona Commission on the Arts
• California Arts Council Touring Roster
• California Civil Liberties Public Education Project
• FundPoets & Writers’ Writers on Site Residency
• AT&T:OnStage Production grant at East West Players
• Four Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Dept. “Artist-in-the-Community Grant”
• New Langton Arts/National Endowment for the Arts Grant (co-recipient)
• Brody Arts Fund Fellowship
• Tucson Pima Arts Council mini-grant
• City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Grant (co-recipient)
• James Irvine Fellowship at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony
• James Clavell American Japanese National Literary Award
• PEN West Emerging Voices Fellowship
• “Critic’s Choice”, L.A. Weekly, Bay Guardian, SF Weekly
• “Best Performance of the Year” – University of Texas, Austin
• “Outstanding Cultural Event” nomination – the Lambda Awards, Philadelphia