Monday, 29 May 2017
East Sepik regional candidate Allan Bird and the bilum
by ANDREW MOUTU
When much is given much is expected so to speak! The bilums are both containers and the contained: potential, promise; trust and confidence and relations are all looped and entangled in the bilums.
The absorptive capacity allows them to stretch and accommodate. What is within awaits a future moment of delivery: a child is born; food is taken out and a meal is shared; betelnut and mustard comes out in moments of social encounters etc. What is contained within awaits a future moment to come out.
The future is the cause and motivation but when the bilum comes into vision, it comes with expectations. When suspended on the head or shoulders the bilum also travels with a body enabling the body to carry other things much like a child in the womb of a pregnant mum. A person carrying a bilum is made to be relationally extended; several identities at once; the person and relations; a leader and community.
As shown in this photograph, decorating Alan Bird with bilums not only means he is the son of our bilums; the gesture amounts to a measure of measure, proportion, grace and fortitude. Standing tall and carrying the burdens and aspirations, sentiments and affections of the now stylised 'Bilas bilum blong Wosera'.