Since I was very young I have been fascinated with dragonflies. I can remember being about 11 or 12 and while talking with a friend, a dragonfly landed on my shoulder — needless to say, I got a big enough fright that I left my sneakers behind when I turned and ran!
Another time my family and I were making a trip to the North West River to see my grandparents. It just so happened that the the cable-car that everyone usually used to cross the river had broken down earlier that morning, so we had to cross the river by boat. While we were on the wharf waiting for someone to come and take us across, I was passing time by tossing rocks into the air and batting them as they fell. At one point one of the rocks that I hit made contact with a dragonfly — and sheared off one side of its wings. Although it was fluke and an accident, I still felt badly for having killed the fly.
The one thing that I will always remember being told about dragonflies was not long after the time I killed that one by accident. My family, plus a number of cousins and our grandparents, were camping in Mulligan, Labrador, and one day there were so many dragonflies that I didn’t want to go outside (at this time we used to call dragonflies “horseflies” or “horse-stingers”). When I told this to my Dad and grandfather, they smiled and said, “They’re not horseflies, they’re dragonflies… and they are our friends… when you see them around, you will always notice there are less mosquitoes and black-flies about.”
Since then I have never been afraid of dragonflies, instead I have become quite fond of them. I have always been fascinated by how they fly — the fact that they have four wings and huge eyes and that they eat the bugs I dislike the most (mosquitoes and black-flies). So, for the last number of months, if not years, I’ve been thinking of making one, actually in this case it turns out to be two, because of the idea I am trying to get across. A simple idea really… this mosquito had happened to stop to take a break from looking for her next victim — and when she looked up, there they were… two large and very hungry dragonflies! Well, her only defense was her long slender legs — and that wasn’t going to help much — so the thought that I gave her as she pondered her fate was… “i’m f#$!ed.”
Massie’s work is a reflection of his mixed Inuit, Métis and Scottish heritage. In it, he investigates both traditional and contemporary themes. He has achieved renown for his innovative teapots that combine themes and symbols from his native Inuit culture with European traditions. Massie has been twice short-listed for the coveted Prix Saidye Bronfman and has an extensive international reputation. His work has been shown in North America and Europe, including the National Gallery of Canada. He was elected a member of Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2011.
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