Thatch Assembly with Rocks (2060s)
Material Study, 2017
Honolulu Biennial at Foster Botanical Garden
Honolulu, Hawai‘i



Material: wood, palm, rock
Dimensions: 10'-0" W x 16'-0" L x 8’-8” H

This anachronistic study invites discourse on the role of island-based materials in the future recovery of ahupua‘a.

Sean Connelly’s installation at Foster Botanical Garden offers an intervention in time where traditional thatching materials local to Hawai‘i remain a primary building technology for architectural and aesthetic achievement leading up to the enactment of Hawaiʻi’s Statehood in 1959. In so doing, Connelly counters the normalization of industrial steel as a primary means of structural or sculptural pursuit. His use of natural material references its traditional use as a structural feature of Pacific architecture, favoring a localized form of construction that provokes historical and cultural dialogues. Drawing upon his architectural background, he offers room for rumination on island-based materials and continuity of the ahupuaʻa – the multifaceted, highly sustainable system of land division and management traditional to Native Hawaiians.




Project Team
Curators: Fumio Nanjo, Ngahiraka Mason
Curatorial Advisory: Margo Machida, Katherine Higgins, Greg Devork
Design: Sean Connelly (artist), Lopaka Aiwohi (hale builder), Avery Normandin, Ihilani Phillips, Iggy So
Project Manager: Yoko Ott
Installation Manager: Scott Lawrimore
Lead Install: Sean Connelly, Ihilani Phillips
Installation Assistants: AJ Feducia, Lia Fong, Spencer Agoston, Kurt Munchmeyer
Volunteers: Tim Connelly, Ikaika Ramones, Andi Charuk, Blake Miller, Marika Emi

Acknowledgements:
Honolulu Biennial Foundation: Isabella Hughes, Katherine Tuider, Taiji Terasaki, Kristen Chan, Katherine Don, Sonny Ganaden, Shaunagh Guinness Robbins, Meli James, Gloria Lau, Heather Shimizu, Brett Zaccardi
Foster Botanical Garden: Joshyln Sand, Justin Rickard
KUA: Alex Connelly
Hui Ku Maoli Ola: Rick Barboza
University of Hawai‘i School of Architecture: Steve Hill
University of Hawai'i Department of Art and Art History: Jaimey Hamilton Farris

Selected Press:
Art Journal Open, CCA
Lei Magazine
Art Monthly Australasia