Life on Muscogus Island provides unending vistas, the rocky shores of neighboring islands, sunset reflections off Monhegan Island across the bay, waves foaming over shoals. From our deck each morning’s sunrise is unique, subtle mauve streaking through pink, to tangerine and gold poured out on the sea. Everything is in motion. Lobster boats plow from trap to trap with their entourage of gulls heralding the catch. It is a working waterfront. With every change of light the colors change. Every change of wind changes the texture of the sea. Torn pieces of rice, hemp, mulberry paper, all of the various washi, fibers, and found materials help me attempt to recreate the vibrance of the scene. Capturing the spirit of this amazing place is my goal.
A lifelong collector of images, Leilani did her undergraduate work in journalism and art, and went on to complete her PhD in Environmental Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Subsequently she joined the faculty of the university in the Department of Architecture, focusing on the design of environments to enhance patterns of human behavior, the interplay of art and humanity. Transitioning later to international work in grassroots development, she lived and worked in Kenya for six years, also coordinating grassroots projects in the island nations of the Indian Ocean. Her career path later included work with the United Nations Development Program, then serving as Executive Director of Church World Service, an international humanitarian assistance organization, and later as an executive with Peace Corps. Throughout her extensive travels and work, mainly in less developed countries, she sought out indigenous art and dialogue with local artisans, finding art to be a critical means of understanding people, the simplicity of form often profoundly expressing cultural insights. Upon retirement, she designed the home that she and her husband David built themselves on Muscongus Island with the help of their grandchildren. It is here her torn paper collages of coastal Maine draw on her ever growing reservoir of captured images.