Artist-Driven Impact and Native Values

HAWAI‘I NONLINEAR is directed by creative values that respect the past, present, and future, striving for powerful outcomes that foster a culture of care, collaboration, and clear boundaries. We ourselves are Native and Local stakeholders in Hawai‘i’s built environment. As creators, conveners, and collaborative partners, we underscore the importance of ‘āina in the built environment because organizational research around Hawai‘i indicates that ‘āina is key to wellbeing at the personal, familial, and community scale.

Dr. Sean Connelly President, Founder and Director
Dr. Sean Connelly (Pacific Islander American) is a Hawai‘i artist, architect, and educator whose work in sculpture, film, design, and cartography addresses pressing issues of ecology and setteler colonialism at the intersections of Native intellect and futures. Sean is founder and director of After Oceanic Built Environments Lab.

Danielle Ulmann Treasurer
Danielle Ulmann (Japanese-American) is vice president of surety at Atlas Insurance Agency and a Committee Chair and immediate past President of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Hawai‘i Chapter.

Lanakila MangauilVice-President
Lanakila Mangauil, a Kānaka Maoli artist, cultural leader, and educator from the rural district of Hāmākua, Hawai'i, is exectuive director of HŌʻĀ, an organization that empowers communities through ʻIke Hawaiʻi, focusing on the protection and revitalization of Hawaiʻi.

Puanani ConnellySecretary
Puanani Connelly (Illocano) is a program coordinator at KUA: Kuaʻaina Ulu ʻAuamo, an organization that promotes grassroots projects, and serves on the State advisory council for the Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program.

Kaili Chun
Kaili Chun is an internationally recognized and award-winning Kānaka Maoli artist known for her large-scale sculptural that uses narratives, symbols and objects that address the impact of historical events on the present day.

Dr. Kelema MosesAdvisory
Dr. Kelema Moses is an art historian and professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at UC San Diego, with expertise in race, indigeneity, colonialism, and U.S. empire in the Pacific, and also serves as a board member of the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative.

Keoni KuohaAdvisory
Keoni Kuoha is the Founding Director of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation House Maui Initiative, a crew member of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and a cultural expert on Native Hawaiian education, language, community engagement, resource management, strategy, and innovation.

Community Leaders
Kapua Pimentel
Amir Mirza
Kauahi Ching

Emeritus Family (Mahalo!)
Dominic Leong, Co-Founder
Chris Leong
Ben Trevino

We are committed to cultivating environments where intersectionality, integrity, accountability, proper citation, fair compensation, and continuous learning become physically represented in the spaces we inhabit and nurture. By reimagining history and promoting indigenous knowledge, we aim to inform our understanding of the future, grounded in the lessons of the past. We value thefollowing priorities through which we extend our invitation to community members, donors, grant funders, and philanthropic foundations to join us on this transformative journey towards building a sustainable and inclusive Hawai‘i.

Place-Based Approaches
We acknowledge and incorporate Hawai‘i's unique histories, practices, and ecologies in our design and care for its built environment, cultivating an environment that respects Indigenous protocols and values.
Advancing Indigenous Knowledge and Imagination
We prioritize empowering Native intellect and futures, promoting place-based knowledge and intergenerational practices that nurture narratives of creating regenerative, culturally rich places.

Liberating Native Intellect and Futures
We utilize Indigenous knowledge and imagination to foster a culturally responsive sense of place, ensuring the continuation of Native intellect and sparking innovative practices suited to Hawai‘i's distinctive environment.
Practicing Culture, Regeneration, Reciprocity
We foster collaboration and innovative decision-making rooted in reciprocity between people and the islands, we aim to deepen our understanding of Hawai‘i and alleviate the tension within its complex built environment.

Organization Bio

HAWAI‘I NONLINEAR is a Hawai‘i-based 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

The organization builds upon a decade-long public new media art project and social practice originally launched in 2010, as a community new media web project, known as HAWAI‘I FUTURES, initiated by Hawai‘i artist Sean Connelly.

Between 2015-2021, Connelly inaugurated the ongoing Hawai‘i Futures Studio as a conceptual public art project and architecture school program that provided external noninstitutional realworld community organizing concepts for realworld architecture studios at Harvard University, University of Hawai‘i, Columbia University, and MIT.

In 2021, Hawai‘i Nonlinear was established as a nonprofit in collaboration between Sean Connelly (After Oceanic) and Dominic Leong (Leong Leong). The organization was created to support grassroots, intergenerational transformations in Hawai‘i’s built environment, transforming from a state of degradation to one that perpetuates ‘āina systems of sustenance.

To date, HAWAI‘I NONLINEAR has been awarded seed funding from the Hawai‘i Leadership Forum in 2021 and has also received technical assistance from the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. The establishment of HAWAI‘I NONLINEAR has been recognized by multiple institutions, including Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, E-Flux/Guggenheim, Koa Gallery at Kapi‘olani Community College, NMG/Flux Hawai‘i, and MoMA.


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