Archipelago: Islands of Land, Water and Legend
June 23, 2011 – 7:00pm
ARCHIPELAGO: ISLANDS OF LAND, WATER AND LEGEND is a new multi-disciplinary work directed and performed by Denise Uyehara in collaboration with video artist Adam Cooper-Terán, with appearances by Natalie Brewster Nguyen and Marcos Najera.
Through a nexus of video, monologue, music and ritual, Archipelago remixes ancient origin myths of Okinawa (Japan’s southern-most islands) and Native people of the American Southwest, situating them in contemporary times.
Archipelago harnesses the cultural resonance found on “islands” – islands situated in the desert and islands found in the ocean. It investigates the metaphor of water that winds through early origin stories, citing narrative, iconography and deities from Ryukyu kingdom and various tribes of the American Southwest — the Yaqui, Navajo, Huichol, and Tohono O’odham nations. The performance also sheds light on how these cultures have survived as islands — geographic or metaphoric in nature — in the midst of colonization from surrounding forces. Hailing from mixed heritage identities (Uyehara is of Okinawan and Japanese lineage, Cooper-Teran a Chicano-Russian of Yaqui decent), ARCHIPELAGO sheds light on issues of authenticity, appropriation and the recreation of myth for cultural survival.
Archipelago is currently in development with support from the NPN Creation Fund and premieres in its entirety at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica in February 2012, and subsequently at Dinnerware Artspace in Tucson.
“Compelling…as graceful and agile on stage as she is on the page…Uyehara is definitely one to watch.” — Los Angeles Times