For booking and inquiries:
Denise Uyehara/Archipelago at

Dana Matthews Photography
portrait by Dana Matthews

Adam Cooper Terán is an acclaimed video artist and performer from Tucson, Arizona.

Well regarded as a prolific collaborator amongst musicians, photographers, painters, poets, filmmakers, sexpressionists, and circus troupes, Adam has featured at such prestigious institutions as the National Hispanic Cultural Center, UC Santa Cruz, NYU, Universidad Ciudad Juarez, Arizona State University, ConcentArt e.V Gallery (Berlin), Prescott College, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, the Phoenix Art Museum, Galería de la Raza (SF), and the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE). In 2010 he was shortlisted for the Guggenheim Youtube Play competition .

Denise Uyehara is an award-winning 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.  She is a recent recipient of the MAP Fund, the National Performance Network Creation Fund and a grant from the Asian Cultural Council.  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.

          portrait by Jen Long

The Rafu Shimpo
Blue Fat : Best of 2011


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ARCHIPELAGO is a new multidisciplinary work by critically-acclaimed performance artist Denise Uyehara and award-winning visualist Adam Cooper-Terán. Through video, image and movement they remix ancient myths of Okinawa with the story of Batuc, a village in the Yaqui River Valley which was flooded by the Mexican government. They weave together loss, cultural survival, wrath of the deities, spirits of past, present and the future.

Archipelago premiered at Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica, February 2012,
made possible by the National Performance Network Creation Fund.



In 1959, when Cooper-Teran's mother was two years old, her Yaqui village of Batuc in the Sonoran Desert was flooded by a giant dam that had been erected by the Mexican government. This led to a mass exodus of hundreds of families who had lived in the valley for generations, submerging their stories, history and culture underwater. The apex of the stone church, jutting out over the flood waters, is all that remains of Batuc. Every several years, during Holy Week, the waters recede and the last surviving villagers return to the valley, mourning and celebrating the memories of their village through song and dance in the town square.

In 2003 Uyehara visited her relatives in Itoman Village, Okinawa, the southernmost islands of Japan. They took her to the caves where they hid during the Battle of Okinawa, and also to the animist, pre-Shinto and pre-Buddhist sites of worship and burial. She observed that Okinawans today live in the shadow of the U.S. military which never left the islands while struggling to maintain their cultural heritage. She found herself a walking contradiction -- carrying a U.S. passport but of Japanese and Okinawan decent. In addition, Uyehara revisited an ancient oceanic myth in which a brother and sister survive a great flood, becoming the progenitors of Okinawa.

Archipelago investigates the metaphor of water that winds through early origin stories from the Ryukyu kingdom, and the history of the Yaqui River Valley. It harnesses the cultural resonance found on "islands" – islands situated in the desert and islands found in the ocean. The performance sheds light on how these cultures have survived as islands -- geographic or metaphoric in nature – in the midst of colonization from surrounding forces.