Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

“fly by night”


Insects are quite fascinating to look at and observe. They are very intelligent, strong, and weird-looking. Some are community-oriented and many, at the best of times, can be kind of ugly and gross. But to this one man, they were just another creature that was put here on earth. Quite a few, he thought, are here for a purpose, like to pollinate flowers and plants, or to eat dead and decaying carcasses.

This one man loved to study as many different kinds of insects, especially the ones that were full of thorns and long legs. One day while dining, he was looking through a new magazine on insects, when he noticed a house-fly. This house-fly kept landing on the edge of his plate as he ate his pie. Now, he was accustomed to flies - where he came from there were more than enough for everyone - as in the large city he was visiting. He was in his favourite restaurant and he had just finished eating his favourite meal and was enjoying his pie… but the fly fascinated him.

As he ate and leafed through the magazine, he couldn’t help but notice there were more people in the restaurant than usual. After some time, he became aware of the noise from everyone talking. Thinking to himself, he imagined how much fun it would be if he able to transform into a fly and go around and just listen to what they were all saying.

As this thought went through his mind, he was blindly turning the pages, and not really noticing what was on the pages… but all of a sudden, he noticed the strangest-looking insect he had ever seen. Covered in thorns, he guessed - or were they legs and arms? He was too caught up in his transformation idea.

It was late when he returned to his hotel room. He was tired from the big meal and the sight-seeing afterwards. Lying in bed, his only thought was of turning into a fly to buzz around and listen and observe. It wasn’t long before he was asleep.

Dreaming for the man was common, he dreamed of home, his family, and being out on the land. In his dream he thought how good it would be to turn into a fly and fly home to see his family and just listen and observe. In his dream, all he had to do was close his eyes and think of something and it would appear or he could transform, whatever - he thought. Suddenly he thought of the insect that had caught his attention at the restaurant. And there he was, with 8 arms and three legs, flying into his home. And there they were… his family, all sitting around and talking and laughing after a late supper.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, there came a tremendous shriek. It was his wife - and she was screaming at the large and ugly fly that was in the house. Once everyone saw it they also began to scream. Insects in the north are only common when the weather is warm, and for the most part most Inuit aren’t fond of insects - and this one was by far the strangest and creepiest one they had ever seen. Just as his wife was about to swat the bug, he awoke… and all he could think of was that it perhaps wasn’t such a good idea to be a ‘fly by night’.

—Michael Massie

Michael Massie

Michael Massie


Inuit, Métis

Happy Valley - Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

(1962- )

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.