Sean “Sean” Connelly (b. 1984, Hawai‘i) is a Pacific Islander American1 artist in Honolulu, O‘ahu where he/they were born and still lives and works. Sean creates work that focuses on material, place, and time. Sean works primarily in architecture, sculpture, and installation, but is also active in experimental cartography, design theory, data analysis, land planning, filmmaking, and other visual arts.

Through their work Sean smartly creates clarity around the physical and spiritual conditions of the built environment. Sean engages the built environment and its effects on their community to decolonize and address the traumas of settler colonialism, militarization, and modernism embedded physically in the environment in architecture and in everyday life. Through their own oral history and unique geo-perception of the enironment, Sean aims to liberate the experiences that transform individual and collective responsibility into real sensation, cognition, intergenerational transfer, genealogy, deep ecology, global positioning, mystic alignment, healing, futurism, spatial justice. The list continues onward in conversation.

Sean acknolwedges the creative and scholarly community of Hawai‘i’s as the biggest place on Earth. Professionally, Sean collaborates and consults under the imprint After Oceanic, Inc., founded in 2015. With over 15 years of experience, Sean directs a range of client based and organizational projects through After Oceanic as the Pacific Laboratory for Applied Theory and Culture in Design and the Built Environment. Sean describes his practice as a next-generation activist-driven creative social practice in architecture.

Sean is currently serves as an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and has designed and taught courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, and University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Sean holds a Doctorate in Architecture from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and a Master in Design from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Sean’s work has been exhibited internationally and published and cited in numerous scholarly works including BLDGBLOG, Art Journal, Places Journal, Pacific Arts Journal, Hawai‘i Journal of History, MIT Press, and more.


As an artist, I identify as an expert witness geomancer mystic. The root of my skill and perspective involves my experience and expertise in the placement and arrangement of objects, buildings, and sites as it concerns health and legal harm. This work is informed through my processing and interpretation of my experience in the context of rethinking history and data as it corresponds to ground and all relevant dynamics like air and water. Art encompass notions of form, cycle, gradient, and interaction. Architecture is a pathway to study the built-environment in terms of material, system, ecology, and justice. Practice is a venue for criticism to create tremendous potential to query and convey healing society, mind, and environment as they occur in time and in space.

I appreciate Earth as a direct source of data and power. Mapping is a strategic process to visualize and speculate form and its formations, in and over time while radical and challenging concepts of history and social relations are ecological venues for resurgence of native daily life from creation chants to cybernetics. Site, archive, technology, and ceremony are the basis for dialog, reinvention, and the advancement of justice. Emotional affect is achieved in the material and geometric craft of form.

My commitment to the pedagogy and practice of design is informed by my humble role as an accomplice in environmental, social, political, racial, and cultural justice and change. My commitment is developed through conversations and a soft range of experience in activism across different fields of solidarity, as is the network of my family, mentors, friends, and acquaintances whom I remember fondly. With teaching, I am interested in expanding boundaries through at least four synergistic goals:

︎ Heighten creative intelligence as a method for leadership and entrepreneurship to produce works in art and design that renegotiate and reconnect ecology, science, culture, and economics in ways that challenge and provide mediums for people to fulfill diverse needs and aspirations.

︎ Embolden art and design as events of activism and inspired change, as works that engage attention spans and organize new pathways to confront and heal the injustices of obsolete design.

︎ Recover marginalized histories that hold the insights for creative change.

︎ Shift perspectives and possibilities critically through creative research and speculation to uncover the range of issues at the forefront of environmental change, justice, and regained delight.

Acknowledging the constraints of my identity in service to myself and others, I believe in an approach to learning and collaboration that is achieved through active vulnerability, listening, learning, and allied action. My practice is about continuity in acknowledging those around me, those who came before, and those who will rise after.

1. For an opportunity to expand upon how I identify as Pacific Islander American—I am a ghost in the field; a queer, diasporic white-passing person-of-color, local settler grandchild of immigrants raised in a matriarchial, culturally Ilocano, Hawaiian, Hispanic and Caucasian family from Honolulu, Hawai‘i. My immediate family is Illocano/Native Hawaiian, but I myself am not Native Hawaiian, just Indigenous illocano. In the contemporary context of my history and identity of the oceanic, I do not consider Ilocano or Pacific Islander as Asian. I consider Pacific Islander to reference ancestry Indigenous to ancestral Oceania inclusive of Islands Souteast Asia, Austronesia. I self identify myself as Pacific Islander American to acknowledge my genealogy amid hundreds of years of history of diaspora resulting from the European colonialism of the Americas and the Pacific, and this imperialism continued via military occupation of the United States.