Melissa Chimera (b. 1972) is a conservationist and Honolulu native of Lebanese and Filipino ancestry living in Hawai`i. She studied natural resources management at the University of Hawai‘i, a world epicenter for plant and animal extinction and worked for two decades as a conservation manager. Chimera’s work investigates species extinction, globalization and human migration. Her most recent project as artist and curator is The Far Shore: Navigating Homelands for the Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI). The exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War and the beginning of the upheaval of the Arab World. Chimera’s solo shows include Migrant (2019) at the Honolulu Museum of Art, Agents of Change, and Splendor: Portraits of the Natural World. In 2009, Chimera was commissioned with her mother, poet Adele Ne Jame, to create Inheritance: Reclaiming Land and Spirit for the Sharjah Bienniale 9. Other collaborations include Moving Cultures, a collaborative art-making train ride across 2,000 miles of China in 2009. Chimera is the recipient of the Catherine E. B. Cox Award and a finalist for the Lange-Taylor Prize. Her work resides in the collections of the Arab American National Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and the Hawai'i State Foundation of Culture and the Arts.
"Inheritance, Maui Nui"
"Inheritance, Maui Nui" depicts five rare species of Maui, Moloka`i and Lana`i Islands. (From outer to inner: the koa butterfly, Udara blackburni; the rare Haleakala fern, Athyrium haleakalae, with 300 remaining in the wild; the haha Cyanea macrostegia of Lana`i, East and West Maui; the makou, Peucedanum sandwicense, and the extremely rare na`u, Gardenia brighamii known from only a few trees on Lana`i and West Maui). The work references our planet with little known Hawaiian species of the sea cliffs, mountain bogs and dry forests. Together they comprise the interconnected fabric of life among the Hawaiian archipelago often referred to as the world's epicenter of species extinction.