Denise Uyehara and James Luna

  • Transitions: Survival Skills in a Suburban Landscape
  • 10 November 2011
  • 7 - 10PM
  • LACE

In conducting research for her project, order Denise Uyehara made the profound discovery: “James Luna is not dead. He just lives on the La Jolla Indian Reservation so people don’t know how to reach him.” Together, page Uyehara and Luna will revisit Transitions, one of Luna’s early performances in which he unpacked a bag full of “Indian” objects and created new rituals with them. Together they will retell the story of their suburban upbringing through contemporary ritual, narrative, video, disco and surfing music, building a mythological bridge into the unknown.

$10 general admission/$5 students/FREE for LACE members.

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Denise Uyehara, Bone Transition, 2010. Photo by Carol Cheh.
Denise Uyehara and James Luna, 2011. Photo design by Adam Cooper-Teran.

Denise Uyehara is an internationally presented performance artist, writer and playwright based in Tucson, Arizona.  For over two decades she has investigated memory and what marks the body as it travels across borders of identity by combining narrative, action, found objects, clay animation and video projections on the moving body.  She was also a founding member of the Sacred Naked Nature Girls, an experimental, culturally diverse performance collective. A recent recipient of the MAP Fund and the National Performance Network Creation Fund, Uyehara is a pioneering artist whose work the Los Angeles Times hails as “mastery [that] amounts to a coup de theater.”  Her recent diptych, Archipelago and the  Senkotsu (Mis)Translation Project,re-examine the U.S. occupation in Okinawa, through Native American and Okinawan origin myths and ritual.  She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Irvine, and an M.F.A. from the Department of World Arts & Cultures from UCLA.

James Luna is a Pooyukitchum/Luiseno Indian and is an enrolled member of the La Jolla Indian Reservation in North County, California, where he  currently resides.  As a “Rez” resident, he draws from personal experiences and probes emotions surrounding the way people are perceived within and outside of their cultures.  An award-winning artist, Luna represented the National Museum of the American Indian in the Venice Biennale in 2005.  Luna believes that installation and performance art – in which he employs such media as made and found objects, audio, video and photography – offer an opportunity for Native artists to express themselves without compromise in the Native traditional forms. Luna’s art education at UC Irvine (BFA ’76) included instruction by major California minimal artists. This, coupled with his Masters in Education at San Diego State University (’83), became the foundation of his thirty years of art making in multimedia installation and performance. More at