Billy Missi, Warpiw nathaik (roasting fish) 2007 handcoloured linocut, edition of 90 (51 printed).
Linocut printed in black ink from one block hand coloured
Printed by Ron McBurnie
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Billy Missi, 1970- 2012, was from Kubin Village, Moa Island in Zenadh-Kes (the Torres Strait). His solo exhibition Urapun Kai Buai (One Big Kin) focuses on family and cultural protocols, and the artist's contemporary life experiences growing up in Zenadh-Kes. Missi 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). His work is based on reasons for survival. He states: "The Torres Strait has a complex history and culture, vegetation and eco systems that work with the phases of the moon, so the livelihood of people in that region is based on, and strongly connected with the natural surroundings, hunting and gathering, identifying foods. Its why our people have continued to pass on traditional stories and cultural traditions".
Story: After a while spent early morning spear fishing there usually comes a time when we need to rest under a nice shady tree and revive. This image depicts an uncle and two boys resting during the midday heat.
During this time the uncle teaches the boys the appropriate way of roasting fish by showing how the fire is prepared to make coals only, in order to cook the fish. He also teaches them how live branches of trees are put across the coals to lay the fish on.
They also hear additional information from their uncle that they need to learn and bear in mind during spear fishing excursions.
It is the responsibility of uncles to pass this knowledge onto their nephews as part of our cultural protocol.