Photo: Marie Hobro

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 debut project as both artist and curator was The Far Shore: Navigating Homelands for the Arab American National Museum (2018, 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 (Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center, Maui), and Splendor: Portraits of the Natural World (ARTS at Marks Garage). Chimera has twice collaborated with her mother poet Adele Ne Jame on poetry and painting exhibitions (including The Far Shore). In 2009, Chimera was commissioned with Ne Jame to create Inheritance: Reclaiming Land and Spirit, a poetry-painting collaboration for the Sharjah Bienniale 9, United Arab Emirates. Other collaborations include Moving Cultures, a collaborative art-making train journey across 2,000 miles of China.

Chimera has exhibited across the U.S., Asia and the Middle East. She 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.