Shaka Funk Design Co

Shaka Funk Design Co. is the creative agency founded by two Native Hawaiian friends, John and Sean.  Graduating together from Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, both individuals continued their education respectively in Oregon, at Pacific Northwest College of the Arts and Pacific University.  During their college career, John and Sean submerged themselves in Hawaiian Culture, focusing on language, dance, and the visual arts. These practices helped sustain the creative driving force to create Shaka Funk.  Shaka Funk is dedicated to representing a unique brand of Native Hawaiian Culture that redefines relevance and importance in this modern day and age.

HI-story of Struggle

Digital Collage, 2017

This piece started as a digital collage produced with the purpose of creating a visual timeline of colonization in Hawai’i. We started with statehood and continued it with the Hawaiian Renaissance period of the 1960’s and the 1970’s.  Building layers upon layers of context, the landscape is the duality of interpretation from American or Colonial news in contrast to storytelling from the Kanaka Maoli perspective.  As the newspaper is torn away, you can see prominent figures emerging through as the anchor for these articles urging you to look deeper into the systematic decimation of Hawaiian Culture and in turn our HI-story.  Of the prominent figures we chose, we recognized King David Kalakaua, Duke Kahanamoku, George Helm Jr., Haunani Trask, Eddie Aikau, and King Kamehameha the Great. In short, this is our interpretation of our answer to a drawn out question posed to Native Hawaiians today from foreigners:  Are we Hawaiian or American?

— Shaka Funk Design Co.

Curator's Note

This digital collage features many prominent figures in modern Native Hawaiian politics and activism. The voices of these leaders have played an important and ongoing role in guiding future generations of Hawaiians through self-sovereignty and resilience backed by a deep knowing of one’s cultural roots and connections to land. As mentioned within the exhibition, the issue of statehood and colonization on Hawaiian lands has been the forefront of Kanaka Maoli issues for generations, affecting many aspects of daily life for Hawaiʻi’s Indigenous people. This collaborative collage touches on these themes while acknowledging their problematic history.

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