Billy Missi, Ari sulam ka (calling on the rain), linocut printed in black ink from one block
Printed by Theo Tremblay, Editions Tremblay.
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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: "In our culture, rain signifies certain timeframes of seasonal change. All the rains have different names: Ubarau Peoythurathai Ari (Wongai rain, light rain), Malgui Ari (planting rain, bigger rain) and Laga Sizarai Ari (the first monsoon, big rain)."
In this work the frogs call up to the rain gods/spirits, who provide the rain as part of the cycle of nature. The work teaches further generations to respect cultural protocol, and that if you ask for what you need, you will receive. The rains also mark the beginning of a new cycle.