The Summer of the 117th Blowfly by Dr Sally Berridge


Insects around the world are in trouble, with many species becoming extinct or threatened. I use art blowflies as an introduction to the complexity and importance of insects in general.

Blowflies (two-winged flies in the Family Calliphoridae) have a bad rap, and with reason: they are fast breeders attracted to rotting meat and can be disease vectors. However, they are also pollinators to an extent, and their maggots are vital in the breakdown of waste including cow dung, and they have their important place in the web of life. Indiscriminate spraying of blowflies with insecticides can accidentally kill other beneficial insect species.

I first painted a Rainblowfly, then 24 other flies with decorations from famous artists such as Picasso, Warhol, Chagall and Van Gogh. This juxtaposition gives them a value not normally seen in their usual irritating and highly disposable state. The unlikely combination of the despised blowfly with high art makes people laugh, plus they question the idea behind the paintings. Each fly has a semi-scientific Latin name. Each species has a common name (e.g., The Starry Starry Fly for one of the Van Goghs) and a short reference to the original paintings. The genus of the Flyospora is Ictuvolant (Ictu = blow; volant = fly in Latin, so the Starry Starry Fly is Ictuvolant noctis-ecstaciensis).

Sally will be at Caspa on Saturdays and Sundays during August from 12-4 pm. Unless restrictions ease gallery is limited to 15 people at one time with social distancing in place.