Melissa Chimera (b. 1972) is a conservationist and Honolulu native of Lebanese and Filipino ancestry. 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.
She keeps a studio on Hawai‘i Island where she lives with her husband and son.
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 begining of the upheaval of the Arab World. The contemporary art and poetry of The Far Shore concerns a highly politicized issue--Arab immigration to America--viewed through the lens of the personal and familial. Chimera’s solo shows include Migrant (2019) at the Honolulu Museum of Art, Agents of Change (Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center, Maui), and Splendor: Portraits of the Natural World (ARTS at Marks Garage).
In 2009, Chimera was commissioned with her mother poet Adele Ne Jame to create Inheritance: Reclaiming Land and Spirit, a poetry-painting collaboration for the Sharjah Bienniale 9, United Arab Emirates. That same year she joined Moving Cultures, a collaborative art-making train ride across 2,000 miles of China. Chimera’s group exhibitions include the Levantine Cultural Center (Los Angeles), Uri-Eichen Gallery (Chicago), the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, GC Art Yard (Tibet), and Orange Gallery in Guangzhou, China.