Nao Bustamante is a performance artist pioneer who is originally from the San Jaoquin Valley in Central California. She has been living and developing her work for the past eleven years out of San Francisco’s Mission District. In 1995, her America, the beautiful premiered at the improvisational festival, Engaging the Imagination and was also performed at Theatre Artaud; San Francisco Art Institute; as a part of the Post-Colonial California Exhibition at San Francisco State University; as part of Mirror, Mirror at California College of Arts and Crafts; in conjunction with Terreno Peligroso/Danger Zone: A Mexico/U.S. Performance Exchange, which took place at UCLA and X-Teresa in Mexico City; and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. In 1994, Nao was busy with her collaborative work, performing an Asian tour with Osseus Labyrint’s Omphalso Epos at the Burst the Spirit Festival in Taipei, Taiwan and the Fringe Festival in Hong Kong, and was featured in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts opening festivities. Nao has also collaborated with Miguel Calderon on the Chain South, the initial phase of which was performed at The Lab in San Francisco. In 1993, Nao brought the house down with Patriarchy Blues at Theatre Artaud and the Victoria Theater. She also brought out Playball as part of the Women’s Art Project at the Women’s Building in Los Angeles and Highways in Santa Monica. Then there was the guest appearance on The Joan Rivers Show, which culminated in the video/performance Rosa does Joan, at Artist Television Access. That year also saw collaborations with two of San Francisco’s more astonishing artists: Triagram with Chico MacMurtle and The Seventh Veil with Tracy Rhoades, both at Theatre Artaud. In 1991, she premiered her huge work, The Frigid Bride, at the Asian American Theatre; Pizen Arts and Clarinksy Cathedral of Bratislava, both in the Czech Republic; Kunsthaus Taheles in Berlin; and Los Talleres in Mexico City.
In addition to performance, Nao has guest curated the Next Time Show for the Marin Headland’s Center for the Arts and el corazon me dio un salto for Galeria de la Raza. She has been a guest lecturer/presenter at San Francisco State University, the San Francisco Art Institute, Cal Arts, UCLA, California College of Arts and Crafts, and the National Theatre School of Prague. Her writings have been published in Revista Paralax Journal (1993) and On Our Backs (1995). She has also received numerous awards including Sound Lab Residency at The Lab; Indigenous Scribe Workshop Scholarship with Cherrie Moraga; Dorothy Allison’s Women Writing Workshop Scholarship; New Langton Arts Individual Grant; and Zellerbach Individual Grant. She also serves on the Board for New Langon Arts.