Pilina everlasting

Allison Milham American

Not on view

"'Pilina Everlasting' was composed, designed, printed and bound by Allison Leialoha Milham. The text and images were printed on the letterpress from photopolymer plates with added layers of sumi ink washes on Rives Heavyweight and handmade papers. Other papers include abaca from the Morgan Conservatory and cover sheets from Cave Paper. The 7-inch record was cut into clear acrylic by LatheCuts in Tucson. In an effort to better integrate the music into the viewing experience, a built-in sound piece containing a sample from the record is triggered when the box is opened. Music was composed at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and recorded at home. Open editions of the content will be made available in alternative formats. This hand-printed and bound, boxed set exists in a limited edition of eight"--Artist statement.

All components of the project are contained in a hand-made portfolio-style box, black cloth over boards, with a central tray, flanked on each side by two covers attached by hinges that fold over the internal tray to close; the outer front cover has the illustration from "Mauna Kea calling" pastedown at center; the inner front cover has printed label with titles; decorated endsheets patterned using sumi ink and text from the oli, 'Nā ʻAumākua'; central tray is divided into two sections by a cut paper design resembling a volcanic landscape mounted over a clear acrylic board; the upper level of the tray includes two small books: (1) an untitled, illustrated 8-page accordion-fold volume with continuous text beginning: "on the slopes of Kīlauea..." and (2) copy number 4 of "Mauna Kea calling," which includes a paper pull tab attached to the back cover to facilitate removing items from the tray; the lower level of the tray contains a printed copy of the artist's statement about the project in decorated wrappers and a record sleeve with a paper pull tab attached, also patterned with the text from 'Nā ʻAumākua,' intended to house a seven-inch lathe-cut recording made by the artist; the box also includes a battery-operated sound element; a clear strip of acrylic in the hinge triggers the sound piece to play when the box is opened; the tray that holds the books and record sleeve is magnetic to the base of the case, so the tray can be lifted off when the battery needs changing.

"Drawing on Indigenous ways of knowing and the ever-shifting volcanic landscapes of Hawaiʻi Island, 'Pilina Everlasting' is a meditation on loss and love that honors my experience of grief and the ways I've found healing through forging new intimacies with ʹāina (the land) and nā kūpuna (my ancestors). The sounds and sequences of text & image offer moments of connection and belonging within an ever-changing environment, cycling through life and death. Themes of pilina (connection, relationship), loss and transformation are explored through music and print. The project began during a monthlong songwriting residency in September of 2018 at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, shortly after losing my mom to pancreatic cancer. Being on Hawai'i Island--the place where my ancestors come from and where my mom and I had spent time together--was a deep comfort during my early stages of grief. When I arrived, the massive eruptions occurring that spring and summer along the Lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea had just subsided. The recent devastation of forests and homes resonated. At the same time, a sense of hope was felt with the creation of new 'āina--Pele's work, and with the slow but sure succession of plant growth--lichens and mosses followed by ferns, shrubs and 'ōhi'a--the gifts of Hi'iaka, Pele's sister. While there, I learned the mo'olelo (stories) associated with the places I visited. I practiced 'ōlelo Hawai'i (Hawaiian language), learned my first oli (chant) and cultivated my skills of kilo (observation). I was beginning the journey of reforging connections and finding myself in the wake of losing the closest person in my life. There were endless ways I felt my inner experience mirrored in the landscape surrounding me and I was blessed with an abiding sense of feeling seen and loved"--Artist statement.

Pilina everlasting, Allison Milham (American)

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