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).
Exhibition catalogue featuring over 50 iconic and rare artwork included in the exhibition Billy Missi'n Wakain Thamai.
The 68 page catalogue contains high resolution imagery of each artwork in the exhibition, with 3 fold out pages for extended views of iconic prints by Billy Missi; interviews with key family and friends of the artist and exhibition essay by curator Russell Milledge.
"The 2020 exhibition, Billy Missi’n Wakain Thamai celebrates the artist's creative contribution to the contemporary cultural expression of the Zenadah Kes printmaking movement.
Over fifty works, selected in consultation with Billy's family and friends, are featured. Only one, a beautiful painting of Aubau (Noni Fruit), is not a fine art print. Artworks grouped into themes represent a recurring inspiration for the artist: Kinship, Ceremony, Stars and the Sea, Food and Medicine.
The works range in medium, including monoprint, etching and lithography, but the majority are linocut and vinyl cut block prints. As an artist, Billy's position is firmly within the first wave of innovative Torres Strait Islander printmakers.
They, while reawakening the animistic storytelling traditions of their ancestors, created the phenomenon of a contemporary Indigenous art movement. They had invented a style of visual representation unique to their place but able to be appreciated universally.
I encourage you to look closely at the detail of these works; within them is Wakai – the impact of the artist's voice and the voice of the animals, plants and ancestral people. Wakain Pal’n nui apasi ngogu adiew gidthaka ar ngogu kuiku maibaika – it is time – listen to the advice of the ancestors." Russell Milledge, except from Essay Introduction.