Arts Leadership Award Program

Debby Kajiyama and José Ome Mazatl

Debby Kajiyama and Jose Ome Mazatl

Representing Alameda County Supervisorial District Three

Debby Kajiyama and José Ome Mazatl are the Founders and Co-Artistic Directors of NAKA Dance Theater. Founded in 2001, NAKA Dance Theater serves the Alameda County and Bay Area contemporary and experimental performance community with a focus on making, presenting, and supporting work by experimental performing artists of color. NAKA creates performance works using dance, storytelling, multimedia installations, and site-specific environments. NAKA intentionally builds partnerships with communities, engages people’s histories and folklore, and expresses experiences through accessible performances that challenge the viewer to think critically about social justice issues. Themes of recent performances include: racial profiling and state brutality, genetic modification of native crops, commodification of water, cultural colonization, and the human response to overwhelming disaster. NAKA brings together and creates rapport among diverse populations, encouraging dialogue and civic participation. Debby and José are both practicing artists. Debby’s artistic practice includes an attention to story, objects in relation to the moving body, and the liminal state between the conscious-unconscious. José’s art practice triggers audience imagination, inviting all to engage in a deep inquiry of how systems of power are formed and how they affect us. Debby Kajiyama is a resident of the City of Alameda and José Ome Mazatl is a resident of Oakland.