A new art exhibit opened at the Wing Luke Museum on June 9. Featuring work by Guma’ Gela’, a CHamoru art collective of queer and trans members from the Mariana Islands and larger Pacific Islander diaspora—the exhibit explores the motto “part land, part sea, all ancestry” through various art forms.
The work crosses a broad spectrum of media, including sculpture, soundscape, writing, printmaking, weaving, costume design, adornments, and more, to build a connection with CHamoru life, history, and traditions.
CHamorus comprise the third largest Pacific Islander population in the United States, after Native Hawaiians and Samoans, but their stories are seldom represented.
“Guma’ Gela’: Part Land, Part Sea, All Ancestry” spotlights and uplifts stories of Pacific Islanders and Micronesians—bringing visibility to communities often invisible by predominant East Asian perspectives within broader AAPI conversations.
Santino Camacho, a featured artist in the Guma’ Gela’ exhibit, says that this exhibit represents long-needed inclusion in AAPI storytelling which tends to favor East Asian voices.
“Historically, Pacific Islander stories have been overshadowed by Asian American narratives through broader oppressive systems of settler colonialism that seek to erase us as Indigenous peoples. Having a CHamoru exhibit reaffirms our existence, stories, and experiences within the broader AAPI community.”
For So’le Celestial and Nancy Mariano, the artwork is a way to honor and share indigenous culture through the lens of queerness in a way that promotes healing and spiritual wellness.
“This exhibit centers on the works of Transgender and Queer CHamoru artists. This exhibit celebrates our stories and existences as Gela’s members of our community. Many of the pieces embody our collective practices of CHamoru Trans and Queer grief, joy, intimacy, kinship, futurity, and healing.”
This exhibit features artwork from 13 artists from the Pacific Northwest and Guåhan including Camacho, Roldy Aguero Ablao, Lourdez Velasco, Roquin Siongco, So’le Celestial, Nancy Mariano, Monaeka Flores, Clay Aflleje, Edward Acfalle Jr., Dakota Alcantara-Camacho, Jessica Vergel, Robert Patrick S. Palomo, and Elyse-Noelle Bais.
For more information about this exhibit, go to wingluke.org/gumagela.