BILLY MISSI | 'Bu' (small shell) Linocut Print

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Bu - Triton Shell

Edition of 50, 2008.

Small Lincocut 


Artist:                   Billy Missi

Tribe:                    Wagedagam, Sipangur

Totem:                  Kodal, Kaigas,

Language:             Kala Lagaw Ya

Language Block:    Western Torres Strait Dialect

Image Size:           30 x 30cm


Billy Missi, 1970- 2012, was a Maluilgal man from Mabuiag Island in the Torres Strait. Billy is known as one of the leading printmakers of this region, having exhibited widely and achieved both national and international acclaim. He comes from a respected family of art practitioners and choreographers, from the tribes of Wagedagam, Geomu and Panai in Malu Lilgal (Western Torres Strait).


"Bu is a Western Torres Strait dailect word for Triton Shell. It’s from the language group of Kala Lagaw Ya. These shells are found commonly on grassy seabeds and reefs surrounding our beautiful islands.

It has a wonderful sweet swirly mussel on the inside. The best way of cooking it is boiled.

Our ancestors also used this shell for ceremonial purposes, representations, raising alarms or gathering people for a meeting.

It would be dried out and a hole punched in the end of it, which one would blow into to create the sound of a horn.

This was a communicating instrument that was used in the past." Billy Missi