Billy Missi | Australia b.1970 | Torres Strait Islander, Kala Lagaw Ya people | Kulba yadail (Old lyrics) 2006 | Linocut on paper, ed.16/90 89.3 x 52.4cm; 84.7 x 47.8cm (comp.) | Purchased 2009 with funds from Xstrata Community Partnership | Program Queensland through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
The Gallery has acquired three prints from Billy Missi’s first major solo exhibition, ‘Urapun Kai Buai (One big kin)’, held at KickArts, Cairns, in 2008. The works focus on family and cultural protocols and on the artist’s experience of growing up in Zenadh Kes (Torres Strait Islands).
Missi has recently emerged as a leading contemporary Torres Strait Islander artist, working alongside established artist Dennis Nona while running the Mualgau Mineral Artist Collective at Kubin on Moa Island.
This acquisition recognises printmaking as one of the major art forms practised by Torres Strait Islander artists today, and the Gallery now holds one of the leading collections of contemporary prints from the Torres Strait Islands. These works constitute an important addition to the Gallery’s outstanding collection of contemporary art from the Torres Strait.
The works were shown in an exhibition of Indigenous art from the Collection, ‘Breaking Boundaries’, at the Gallery of Modern Art, 13 December 2008 – 25 October 2009.