HoMA is spotlighting the work of artists in our community and beyond during these challenging times. We’ve asked Ty Sanga to share what has been inspiring his creativity during shelter-in-place and social distancing. 

Ty Sanga is a Native Hawaiian filmmaker who was born with a passion for storytelling. He is the director of the food travel show Family Ingredients. The show celebrates Hawaiʻi’s diverse cultural heritage through the lens of a cherished family dish. In 2014, the show’s pilot episode won an Emmy, then in 2018, the series received two Daytime Emmy nominations for Directing and Cinematography. (Get your cooking inspiration by watching Season 1 and 2 of Family Ingredients online here!)

His short film Stones, inspired by Hawaiian legend, screened at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2011, Sanga was a Sundance Native Lab fellow for his feature film After Mele. He directed the feature documentary Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson about the devoted social worker and Kamehameha Schools Trustee Myron “Pinky” Thompson. It was nominated for Best Documentary at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Sanga’s most recent short film, Hae Hawaiʻi, is about a young thief who is recruited to protect the unifying symbol of Hawaiʻi. The film is a reimagining of the historical events surrounding the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and it has screened at film festivals throughout the world. The film captured the Audience Award at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival in 2018.


What’s inspiring you as an artist right now and why?

My main inspiration has been my son. He was born earlier this year in February and he has been a blessing to our family. He reminds me every day that the world is beautiful and that our future is filled with hope.

What are you watching these days?

I know I’m late but I have finally binged the two seasons of Fleabag. It was brilliant. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is insanely talented. Not only are her characters wildly captivating but she was able to create a moment in film that I have never seen done before. It was a rare and delightful treat. Finally, I’m always excited whenever there is a new IG post from the magical mind of Solomon Enos. The amount of content he creates is remarkable and his work just overflows with creativity.

To learn more about Ty Sanga’s work, see below.


– Taylour Chang, Curator of Film and Performance

Photo credit © Renea Veneri Stewart