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).
Billy Missi 'Sapur ka kanaik (stalking the flying fox)' 2007.
As night falls in the village, flying foxes or fruit bats get into the mangoes, making noise. Screams and cries echo throughout the night.
This activity and noise gets a lot of attention from brown carpet snakes, which hang around the mango trees for the bats. Bats are one of the snakes’ favourite foods.
In this image fruit bats are munching out on mangoes at night, not knowing or taking any notice of a big, brown carpet snake creeping up, stalking the vulnerable one.
Growing up on this island in the early to late 1970s these sightings were always common during mango season. Our grandfathers, fathers and uncles always used to show us these sightings, known as Sapur ka kanaik.
This term in Kala Lagaw Ya has been passed down from time immemorial, for us to understand and read the nature that surrounds us.