The Honolulu Museum of Art
(HoMA) welcomed two new curators in September. Tyler Cann has been named senior curator of modern and contemporary art and Alejandra Rojas Silva, Ph.D. joins HoMA as the works on paper, photography and new media fellow. Cann and Rojas Silva join HoMA's team of curators who specialize in art across eras and genres, led by Director of Curatorial Affairs Catherine Whitney.
Cann will guide the Museums modern and contemporary art program through the curation of robust and innovative exhibitions and acquisitions that reflect the unique geographical position and cultural makeup of Hawaiʻi. In his role, Cann will serve as a creative collaborator with artists and organizations locally, nationally and internationally, expanding awareness and understanding of contemporary art in the community.
We are thrilled to welcome Tyler to the HoMA team and are excited to see how his visionary approach will shape the presentation of our modern and contemporary collection and broaden and deepen our engagement with living artists, said HoMA Director Halona Norton-Westbrook. He has a proven record of success in driving forward a dynamic curatorial vision that centers an institutions sense of place, while encouraging new and inclusive perspectives that inspire and draw audiences in.
Cann joins HoMA from the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) in Ohio, where he served most recently as acting chief curator, director of exhibitions and Pizzuti family curator of contemporary art. Throughout his nine-year tenure, Cann was responsible for 30 exhibitions, including Queer/Modern, a unique installation focused on pre-Stonewall queer histories. He became recognized for his cross-departmental leadership in creating thoughtful and inclusive group exhibitions, including In__We Trust: Art and Money and A Measure of Humanity. Cann was also a co-curator of the highly acclaimed Art after Stonewall, 1969-1989, earning a 2020 Curatorial Award for Excellence from the American Association of Museum Curators. For CMAs permanent collection, he led the acquisition of work by artists including Melvin Edwards, Catalina Ouyang, Baseera Khan, John Edmonds, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Trevor Paglen, Yuji Agematsu, Kim Dingle, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Thomas Lanigan Schmidt and David Wojnarowicz.
Prior to the Columbus Museum of Art, Cann served as curator of Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, England and spent seven years in Aotearoa New Zealand as a curator at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, Taranaki.
Originally from Los Angeles, Cann holds a masters degree and is a doctoral candidate in the department of art and architecture at Harvard University. He received a bachelors degree in history of art from University of California, Berkeley.
Although Hawaiʻi has been significant to my family since I can remember, we remain visitors, malihini, and our presence here comes with a deep sense of responsibility to the place, people and cultures of these islands, said Cann. Hawaiʻi is in the crosscurrents of so many contemporary issues, and art can play an important role in shaping how we understand and grapple with them. The invitation to assist HoMA as it takes its next steps as a cultural institution is a tremendous honor, and I hope to make a positive impact in the community as a steward of its amazing collection of modern and contemporary art.
Alejandra Rojas Silva, Ph.D., HoMAs newly appointed works on paper, photography and new media fellow, will bring increased visibility to HoMAs extensive collection of more than 15,000 European and American works on paper, ranging from the Renaissance to the present. She will oversee the care and research of these works, challenging conventional histories and narratives of art while shaping opportunities for community engagement.
A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Rojas Silva brings a deep interest in education, diversity and social equity to the fellowship. She most recently served as the assistant professor of art history at Ohio Wesleyan University, teaching subjects from the ancient Americas to global contemporary art. Rojas Silvas scholarship centers on identity formation in colonial and post-colonial contexts, and her book project, Flora Incognita: Picturing Nature in Sixteenth-Century Spanish America, examines the intersection of art and science in early colonial botanical manuscripts. She has curated several exhibitions, including Re-inauguration of the Permanent Collection at the Museo Arqueólogico de Bogotá and Alberto Baraya: An Expedition to New Zealand at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in Aotearoa New Zealand.
I am delighted to be joining HoMA and look forward to deepening our understanding of its impressive collection of prints and photographs, said Rojas Silva. There is little doubt that it contains a wealth of stories that, in collaboration with colleagues around the Museum, can find new relevance today.
Rojas Silva holds a Doctorate in the History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University and a Master of Studies, focusing on photography, from the University of Oxford.
Honolulu Museum of Art
A vital part of Hawaiʻis cultural landscape, HoMA is a unique gathering place where art, global worldviews, culture and education converge in the heart of Honolulu. In addition to an internationally renowned permanent collection, the museum houses innovative exhibitions, an art school, an independent art house theatre, a café and a museum shop, within one of the most beautiful, iconic buildings in Hawaiʻi.
The museum inspires and uplifts the community through transformative art experiences that celebrate creativity, cultivate wonder, foster empathy and enhance knowledge in order to deepen our connections with one another and the world we share.
For more information, visit www.honolulumuseum.org.