NET/TEN Shareback: Denise Uyehara - Shooting Columbus

Fall 2013 Travel Grant Recipient

Denise Uyehara (Tuscon, AZ) conducted a series of meetings between her ensemble and five Indigenous artists to discuss with the question: How would our lives be different if Indian scientists built a time machine and went back to 1492 to shoot Columbus? This dialogue was crucial in developing the performance, Shooting Columbus. Early meetings took place in Tucson, AZ, with a weekend devising workshop at the ASU School of Theater, Tempe, AZ.


The NET Travel funds made it possible to for us to convene our first Shooting Columbus artist gathering, a weekend of sharing, cultural exchange, script reading and devised theater. Our first gathering brought together the lead artists -- Adam Cooper-Terán, Rachel Bowditch and Denise Uyehara, with artists from the  Diné/Navajo, Tohono O’Ohdham, Akimel O’Odham, Yaqui nations – some of the major tribes of the southwest region.  These artists are: Klee Benally, Alex Soto, Chadra Narcia, Ryan Pinto and Tygel Pinto.  Also in attendance: Princess Benally.

The videos below are intended to share our learning.

-Denise Uyehara

VIDEO #1 - How to work with artists from diverse cultural backgrounds - in particular the native southwest region.

Our main challenges were to learn to share and work with artists from the Indigenous southwest area, to build trust, and to develop a long-term strategy for our performance, Shooting Columbus. We also hail from different disciplines, so developing jam sessions and finding a format to hold all of our art forms was important. We are inspired and moved by our first gathering and look forward to working together as the project develops further.

NET Shareback#1 Shooting Columbus from Denise Uyehara on Vimeo.

VIDEO #2 - Planning long term and developing relationships with the native community

After our first artist gathering, we were invited to attend the Big Mountain Training Camp, a collective gathering by The Elders Circle of the 40-Year Sovereign Dineh (Navajo) Nation Resistance, in collaboration with: Black Mesa Support, Radical Action for Mountain Peoples Survival (RAMPS), Missourians Organizing for Reform/Revolution & Empowerment (MORE), Save the Confluence.

Shoot Columbus Shareback, Part 2: Long Range Planning and Learning about Community issues from Denise Uyehara on Vimeo.


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




Project website: 
Shooting Columbus

Denise Uyehara
Adam Cooper-Terán
Rachael Bowditch
Klee Benally
Chandra Narcia
Tygel Pinto
Alex Soto/Shining Soul


What do you think? We'd love to know your thoughts. Please include your comments, insight, and feedback below! 

Posted by: 
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

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