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Depart Without Return

Shoufay Derz

In Depart Without Return the artist lies in a small canoe shrouded in indigo silk with live blind moths covering her face so that she too is blind. The males flutter excitedly, squirting vibrant copper colored fluid until they find a female with which to join. After copulation the females lay golden eggs on her face. Moths are typically attracted to light, but Derz’s dark blue painted face points to an absence of light, reminiscent of the Godheads of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism which are depicted blue-skinned as symbolic of the infinite. The presence of the face is barely noticeable, negated by the activity of the moths, until the gradual open and closing of the eyes and mouth reveals the living human form. According to Hindu legend when Brahma, the creator God, “opens his eyes, and a world comes into being … Brahma closes his eyes, and a world goes out of being.” The end of the world is expressed as a process of psychological and visionary transformation, a process of infinite deaths and births.


Shoufay Derz, Depart Without Return, 2011, digital video, edition of 5, 2:14 mins. Courtesy the Artist and Artereal Gallery, Sydney.