KAILUA, Hawaii (KITV4) -- May is recognized as National Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Heritage Month. It's a month to recognize the cultural, historical, and artistic achievements that influence our lives each and everyday.
But for Kailua resident, and creator of Punky Aloha Studios, Shar Tuiasoa, recognition of her cultural roots extend far beyond just this month.
Incorporating pieces of her Tongan ancestry with influences from her local Hawaiian upbringing, she has a created a name for herself designing art based on culture.
From iconic murals displayed throughout the islands, to promotional pieces with big names like Disney, Pixar, and Sephora, she says in incorporating a piece of herself into her work, she hopes to ignite new conversations about the things that make us uniquely unique.
"I think we have a lot to say and I think the more that people kind of understand and feel less ownership over our culture then we are kind of contributing to the conversation, rather than having the conversation kind of spoke to us," Tuiasoa, explained. "We're sharing ourselves and I think people are going to be able to respect us a little bit more that way."
And it's the reason Tuiasoa says she encourages other AAPI artists to do the same -- embrace their culture and share it with others.