Learn About Identity From These 7 Artists at the Next Virtual PechaKucha

The Hawai‘i State Art Museum’s presentations will take place on Instagram in October.

Editor’s Note: Through our partnership with the Hawai‘i State Art Museum, HONOLULU Magazine publishes a monthly blog written by Lisa Shiroma, correspondent for HiSAM.


How we present ourselves and how others react to us has a powerful way of shaping our lives, creating a ripple effect in our community and beyond. HiSAM’s next virtual PechaKucha event will feature a group of presenters focusing on the theme, “Identity.” They’ll each share their stories through 20 slides that automatically change every 20 seconds on IGTV. Here are the artists up for the challenge.


Dan Paul Roberts

7 Artists at the Next Virtual PechaKucha
Photos: Courtesy of Hawai‘i State Art Museum


You may remember Dan Paul Roberts from last October’s First Friday at HiSAM when he emceed the Honolulu Pride fashion show as the exuberant Miss Candi Shell. Roberts will be doing his PechaKucha presentation with a cheeky combination of music and drag. “I’ve had to confront my own internalized homophobia to be able to do drag, and this pursuit continues to broaden my horizons and introduce me to all kinds of wonderful individuals,” he says. “I thought I’d show the evolution of Candi Shell and explain how the experience has changed me—but I’d also like for Candi to have a voice and have a chance to explain things from her point of view as well. I’d like it to be humorous and hopefully enlightening.”


Kenyatta Kealoha Kelechi

7 Artists at the Next Virtual PechaKucha


Imagine a huge, boxy, old-time camera on stilts. Invented in Europe in the mid-1800s, wet-plate photography was brought to Hawai‘i by Western photographers to document and share what they saw. Photographer Kenyatta Kealoha Kelechi specializes in this tedious, archaic method that involves a harmony of chemicals and timing in capturing his subjects. The African American, Hawaiian, Chinese, Caucasian, Native American man grew up in Kailua; identity is something that he wanted to explore further with portraiture as his chosen medium. His recent body of work, Manachrome, is a series of portraits of Native Hawaiian practitioners. Kelechi’s presentation will reveal how this series has opened up an opportunity to connect with his culture and discover parts of his own identity.


Nicky Munoz

7 Artists at the Next Virtual PechaKucha


Nicky “MelonJames” Munoz needs no introduction in the community of graffiti artists in Honolulu. Chances are you’ve seen his vibrant murals on walls around Honolulu. A prominent one includes a collaboration he did on South King Street that shouts, “END RACISM!” and features Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. His presentation will focus on how people around him helped him discover his identity, he says. “This has helped me create with passion and emotion. I feel identity is important because it helps give you purpose. But you need others around you to help you identify an identity. If you were the only person on this planet, in a weird way, you would have no identity.”


Risa Hoshino

7 Artists at the Next Virtual PechaKucha


An international jet-setter in pre-COVID times, Risa Hoshino currently calls O‘ahu home. From sunny beach photo shoots in Hawai‘i to glam fashion weeks in New York and Paris (and everything in between), Hoshino built her career as a nomadic makeup and hair stylist by making sure her clients are confident and camera-ready. She was recently featured in our fall fashion editorial celebrating some of Honolulu’s vibrant creatives.


SEE ALSO: Fall Fashion: 5 Local Hawai‘i Artists, Designers and Business Owners Wear the Newest Trends 


Keola Naka‘ahiki Rapozo

7 Artists at the Next Virtual PechaKucha


Keola Naka‘ahiki Rapozo is the co-founder and creative director of Fitted. As a Hawai‘i-based streetwear company, Fitted is inspired by “culture, place and people.” The brand’s unique contemporary designs help connect people with Hawaiian culture on a deeper level. Identity is “filled with many complexities. I would like to weave the old technique, explaining identity with the modern way of explaining identity,” he says. “How can we learn from the past … [to] inform us today on living a more fulfilled, thoughtful life, one that includes personal responsibility, and how can choices affect the balance of your moʻokū‘auhau (inherited mana)?”


Taiji Terasaki

7 Artists at the Next Virtual PechaKucha


With a career in art spanning more than 30 years, Taiji Terasaki is a force to be reckoned with. His most recent works have been massive, immersive installation pieces that transport you to another dimension through ethereal mist projections. They have been growing bigger in scale and more ambitious as each project takes on a life of its own. His presentation will touch on themes from his three Transcendients exhibitions: Immigrants: Stories of Place at Thomas Square, a pop-up in Honolulu in 2019; Heroes at Borders at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles; and 100 Days of COVID-19, originally posted on Instagram. “In my work, I honor individuals who are active in the community and who advocate for positive change. Many of the people represented are activists, educators, health care workers, political figures, actors and many more. The heart of my work is focused on connecting with the community by providing these heroes with a platform to share their stories with the world.”


Lala Openi

7 Artists at the Next Virtual PechaKucha


Lala Openi wears many hats as a creative artist, including that of a freelance designer, media-maker, cultural worker, and co-founder and creative director of The Abstract, a resource for coping and mental health. A fifth-generation Chinese American from the Bay Area, Openi is genderqueer and uses they/them pronouns. They are on a mission to “leverage their perpetual foreign-ness as the ability to see the inherent multiplicity in our shared realities, and offer their work as a communication and bridge between worlds, cultures and, ultimately, perspectives.”


Catch the PechaKucha presentations as they are posted each day on Hawai‘i State Art Museum’s Instagram starting Oct. 19.


Follow Hawai‘i State Art Museum’s Instagram for info on its latest virtual events.


Lisa Shiroma


Lisa Shiroma is a correspondent for HiSAM and is an artist and art educator. Lisa is the former owner of the HiSAM Museum Gallery Shop, which she ran with partners Aly Ishikuni-Sasaki and Travis Sasaki from Mori by Art + Flea from 2017 to June 2020.