Kevin Matthew Kaunualiʻi Kiesel
Kevin Matthew Kaunualiʻi Kiesel (he/him) was born on the island of O`ahu and grew up in Wahiawa. His ethnic background is Hawaiian, Chinese, and Caucasian. In 2007, Kevin moved to Seattle to pursue an art education. All aspects of Kevin’s life were transplanted, academically, socially, and creatively. Living in the Pacific Northwest gave rise to an examination of his cultural identity and fused his interests in art, culture, and science fiction.
“Inspired by creatures and plants found in Hawaii, these mechs are covered with camouflage paint schemes using the endemic ma`o hau hele flower, endemic naupaka flower, and endemic kou flower.”
—Kevin Matthew Kaunualiʻi Kiesel
These digital works are a hybrid combination that speaks well to traditional plants and environmental concerns joined via contemporary media and graphics. Our communities as API (Asian-Pacific Islander) people are constantly in flux, especially for those who face cultural displacement away from their ancestral homelands or place of birth. These ‘mechs’ are a clever take on the representation of endemic and endangered plants that are integral to Hawaiian culture and landscapes. We wanted to include a range of different media in the exhibition and these digital renderings are a creative example of how ecological elements may be combined with a technological sensibility that our younger generations seek to embody and use within their work.