Seeing vs. Believing

PRIMITIVE - Sunday, January 18, 2009
  An underdog

This is getting tricky. It’s hard to not get emotional about some pieces, especially when your eyes tell you something is special. Sometimes, even an underdog will stick in your mind.

You’ll dream about it at night and when you look in the mirror the next morning you’ll vow to your reflection, “We’ll get it. I’ll fight for it.” And you remember that promise. Glen always asks, “Is there anything haunting you?”

Some pieces speak louder than others. They are ‘haunting.’ Their voices can also be annoying. Most of the time, however, when I hear them talk it sounds like my grandfather speaking old, proven wisdom. I have to be careful not to insert my own desire in their voices. I want their message to be pure, unadulterated. I don’t want to embrace them if they’re unwilling. Yesterday, the voices let me down...

We were on our way to see some stone statues for the second time. Each of us had a piece we wanted to see again. While on the way, Komang, our driver, took a short cut on winding back roads when Claudia spotted something unusual. “Stop, stop, stop!” she screamed, and we got out of the car to investigate statues surrounding a roadside house which looked strangely familiar, almost identical to the statues we were going to visit.

Pressing my hands up against a metal gate I yelled, “Hello?” When there was no response, Glen slid the gate open, and we entered the yard. Statues stared at us like the intruders we were. When I peeked into the house’s window I saw more faces. They all wore the same expression. Glen instinctively went to the end of the yard and swung open a flimsy bamboo gate to discover what we all secretly feared – moulds piled high like sarcophagi – wombs from which these statues had sprung.

When we returned to see the statues we had seen before, we did not approach them with our usual enthusiasm and anticipation but instead wore expressionless masks.

Claudia and I immediately headed for pieces we had secretly given code names, Rocket Launch and Bootylicious. We had even made up songs praising their beauty and uniqueness. Claudia beckoned me close. “Find a nail or something metal and sharp,” she said.
I returned with a chisel. Flashlight in hand, Claudia tilted a statue on its side and chipped away at the bottom. The noise was gritty and light. Slowly, the material turned to grey powder with silver flecks as opposed to chips, what one would expect from stone. I wiped the powder with my fingers. It was clearly too fine to be stone. It was something else, some mixture of materials which had gestated in a mould.

We called Glen over. He repeated the same exercise. I didn’t know what his reaction would be, but he calmly confirmed our finding. Did I feel triumphant? No. Instead, I felt an extreme sense of disappointment the statues had not really come from someone’s “hand.” The voices I had heard may have been memorable, but they were not exactly truthful.

I was also angry my eyes had betrayed me. Glen must have sensed this because he said, “Just be glad we’re not presenting these things. You can be happy we discovered the truth.” Claudia nodded in agreement, and my expression turned into a wiser, more experienced grin.

Secret telling statues