Things I’ve Never Done – Part 1

I’ve never been arrested. Well, except for that one time with my friend Henry, but technically that wasn’t really an arrest. We were both fourteen, out and about in the wee hours of the morning, and saw a man standing on the corner near Henry’s apartment building. The streets were deserted except for the man and the two of us, and he seemed suspicious, the way he was eying us. We walked around to the next block, turned the corner, and there he was again. So we did an about-face and quickly walked away in another direction. That seemed to be end of it.

A little later, 4 a.m., and we were sitting on Henry’s stoop chatting about nothing, when a police car came rolling around the corner and stopped in front of us. Two cops got out and came over. We recognized one of them, named Rhody, from the neighborhood.

“What are you kids doing out at this hour?”

“We were just talking,” Henry said. “We couldn’t sleep.”

“Somebody called in. A guy waiting for the early bus into New York. Said two suspicious looking kids were stalking him. They fit your description.”

Henry’s natural expression was wide-eyed and incredulous, as if always with a question in mind. Now his eyes went wider still, as if the question had been answered and it was unbelievable. “Stalking?” he said.

So our suspicious-looking guy thought we were the suspicious ones.

“You live here?” Rhody said, looking up at the three-story apartment building behind us.

“I do,” Henry said.

“I live over there,” I said, pointing to another apartment building half-a-block away.

“Stand up,” Rhody said.

We did and he patted us down. He extracted a flashlight from one of Henry’s pockets. “What’s this for?”

“The lights are out in the hallway.” Henry gestured behind himself at the door leading inside.

“And what about this?” Rhody said, after coming up with a very large screwdriver from another pocket.

“Hmm, “Henry said, staring down at the screwdriver as if he’d never seen it before.

So we were escorted into the back of the police car and taken to the old red-stone stationhouse and held there. Possession of burglar tools, was Rhody’s explanation. Our parents were called and they came and picked us up individually. My stepfather seemed cheerful when he walked into the station. “Hi Billy,” he said to the desk sergeant. They were apparently friends, or at least my stepfather was pretending they were. But his tone changed in the car as he drove me home. He was pissed off. I tried to explain, but he was having none of it. Neither was my mother, when we arrived home.

By then, it was around 7 a.m.and I had just enough time to get dressed, have some breakfast and go to school. No sleep for me that night. And over the next few days, the incident was forgotten.

So you see, I wasn’t really arrested, just detained for suspicion, and then released to my stepfather. All because it had been 4 a.m., too late for young kids to be out on their own, and a man had thought we were stalking him. And we had tools in our possession that we couldn’t explain. But it wasn’t an arrest, not really. And they never did find out about the break-in down in the basement of Henry’s building. The tavern that occupied the corner of the building had a large fenced-in storage area beneath it, and we thought we might find beer, or something even better, inside the bin. But there was nothing useful. So we went back upstairs and had our stalking incident with the man waiting for a bus, and then sat around talking, having a sort of adventure, because we were fourteen and it was cool to be out in the world at an hour when everyone else was asleep.

Polynesian Art: Why Is It Part of Genius Creations?

Polynesia consists of various islands in the Pacific Ocean such as Hawaii, Easter islands, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, Marquesas Island and New Zealand. Polynesia is a fusion of two words ‘poly’ which means ‘many’ and ‘nesia’ which means ‘islands’. Polynesia means ‘many islands’.

The Polynesians were skillful navigators (sailing masters). The Polynesian societies were ruled by kings, chiefs, and ritual specialists.

The Polynesians were noted for specialization in various fields of work such as priesthood, sculpting, canoe making and building construction. Training in the form of apprenticeship was offered to trainees on the mastery ways of handling tools and materials. They were also instructed on the body of beliefs and ideologies that were linked to any of the artistic creations. This accounts for the high technical and aesthetic standards that are the hallmark of artworks in Polynesia. That is why their works are branded by art historians as genius creations.

Owing to the social hierarchy that existed in Polynesia, art was associated with rank and power. Initiation rites were organized for the youth to enter into adulthood. The Polynesians believed in ancestors and therefore practiced ancestral veneration and the performance of extravagant funeral ceremonies.

The Polynesians produced various forms of art such as painting, sculpture, textiles, architecture, feather work and pottery. Body painting in the form of tattooing was a prestigious art in Polynesia. It was an important art form for the Marquesan warriors because it was believed to offer spiritual protection of the individual. Nobles and warriors accumulated various patterns to help increase their status, mana or spiritual power and personal beauty. For full protection, the tattoo-covered the entire body. The interiors and exteriors of both the ceremonial and communal meeting houses especially the rafters are painted in symbolic patterns in various colours serving both aesthetic and spiritual purposes.

Images of deities usually referred to as fishermen gods and ancestors were carved in wood with multiple figures attached to their bodies. The ancestral figures probably represented clan and district ancestors who were revered and honored because of their protective and procreative powers. They played a central role in human fertility.

The Polynesians are famed for the production of a decorated bark cloth called Tapa. It was produced from the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree by the Polynesian women. Its production processes were complex and time-consuming.

It was used extensively for clothing and bedding. Large sheets of the tapa are used were and still are produced for exchange. It is used for wrapping objects and it is believed to bestow sanctity or holiness on the object. Some were also used for ceremonial or ritual purposes. These ones were dyed, painted, stenciled and sometimes perfumed. Bodies of high ranking deceased chiefs were traditionally wrapped in the tapa cloth. During funeral and marriage ceremonies, tapa exchanges form an integral part.

Meeting houses and ceremonial houses were constructed by the Polynesians. There were carved relief panels along the walls of the buildings that depicted specific ancestors.

Intricately painted shapes cover the rafters. They also built temples for their war gods and other deities.

Elegant feather cloaks were created for mainly men of high rank. Most of the cloaks were produced in Hawaii. Every aspect of the cloak reflected the status of the wearer. The materials used were extremely precious particularly the red and yellow feathers from the mamo birds.

The cloak linked its owner to the gods. Aside offering spiritual protection of the gods to the wearer, their dense fibre base and feather matting provided physical protection.

The Western part of Polynesia produced the Lapita pottery (ceramic vessels) for domestic, religious and spiritual uses in the temples, homes, and ceremonial houses.

The rich artistic culture of the Polynesians educates us that artists must strive to attain a high key of professionalism in their artistic productions in any area of expertise they choose as their specialty. The handling and usage of tools and materials for artistic productions must be handled in dexterity as was done by the Polynesians. This would help in the advancement of art in the society.