“I first became interested in art when I saw a display of paintings done by local Torres Strait Islander artists in 1992. I was so inspired that I wanted to do the same, but, having a family to support, I had to continue crayfishing as I needed a regular income. So making art had to wait although deeply inside of me I really wanted to express my traditional culture through art inlcuding dancing and singing which are also a part of our culture. Later when I met Dennis Nona and saw his beautiful prints, I was encouraged to give up diving full time and study under him in our local TAFE program. Together we established a printmaking workshop, called the Mualgau Minaral Art Centre through the Kubin Community Council on my island, Moa.”
Painter and printmaker, Billy Missi, won a number of art awards including the Non Acquisitive Prize at the ’31st Fremantle Print Awards 2006′. Missi was also Highly Commended in the ‘5th National Heritage Art Awards 2000’.
He came from Maluilgal country in Zenadh Kes (Western Torres Strait). He was a part of the Wagedagam Tribe with the major totem of Kodal (crocodile) and an associate member to the Dhanghal (dugong) clan of Panai to the East and the Kaigas (shovel nose ray) clan of Geomu to the South on the Island of Mabuiag. Missi grew up in the traditional customary ways of his cultural heritage in the Torres Strait. He came from a well respected generation of art practitioners and geographers of Mabuiag who have passed down the protocols, practices and heritage of the Torres Strait culture through story telling, songs and dance. Missi became interested in the concepts of art – drawing and painting, in the early years of his life and in 1999 began developing his artistic ability in the media of sculpture, lino-cut and paintings. Missi was also one of the founding members of Mualgau Minaral Artist Collective, the first printmaking facility based in Kubin Village and a pioneer project in the Torres Strait. His contribution to the Torres Strait arts industry is noteworthy; he has exhibited successfully throughout the region, nationally and internationally.
Missi succumbed to ongoing health problems passing away in 2012.
Subject & Themes
Melanesian influence. He is inspired by his cultural heritage and traditions and expresses a deep concern for the Torres Strait environment.
Berndt Museum of Athropology, University of Western Australia ,Perth, WA
Mornington Penisula Regional Gallery, VIC
The Hotel Cairns, Cairns, QLD
Matter Special School Collection, Brisbane, QLD
Art Queensland Office, Brisbane, QLD
Art Queensland Office, Cairns, QLD
Australian Consulate, Guangzhou, Peoples Republic of China
ABS CBN Studio, Makati City, Philippines
Australian Embassy, RCBC, Makati City, Philippines
Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, QLD
Issac Art Centre, Waimea, Hawaii, USA
Tony Haurush Collection, New York, USA
The Chistensen Fund Collection, Palo Alto California, USA
U.N.E.S.C.O Multi-Disciplinary Arts, Melbourne University, Vic
KickArts Contemporary Arts
Cairns Regional Gallery
Torres Strait Regional Authority, Thursday Island
Badu Island State School, Badu
NGA, Canberra ACT
Canberra Office of Torres Strait
Affairs Parliament House Canberra ACT
Cambridge University Museum UK
Victoria and Albert Museum UK
University of British Columbia
Museum of Anthropology, Canada
Queensland Art Gallery, QLD
Australian Catholic University Gallery
D.A.T.S.I.P.D Regional Office, Thursday Island
University of Wollongong NSW
Gordon Darling Collection, Melbourne VIC
City of Fremantle, Perth WA
TAFE of Holmeglen Collection VIC
2011 NAIDOC 2011 The Works of Billy Missi, Australian National Maritime Museum
2009 BILLY MISSI: Urapun Kai Buai (one big kin), FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane, QLD
Mina Mikia Imau, Cell Art Space, Cairns, QLD
Along Ancestral Line, Pandanus Gallery, Cairns,QLD
Urapun Kai Buai, Perk Tucker Regional Gallery,Townsville, QLD
Urapun Kai Buai,Gallery 101, Melbourne, Vic
Urapun Kai Buai, Wodonga Regional Gallery, Vic
2008 Urapun Kai Buai, Kick-Arts Gallery, Cairns, QLD
2007 Mikiya Imau, A Glimps, George Patton Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2004 Urapun Muinu Garasar, Many In One Gab Titui Cultural Centre, Thursday Island, QLD
2013 Malu Minar (Sea Pattern) Art of the Torres Strait, Te Manawa Art Gallery, Palmerston North, NZ
2012 Malu Minar (Sea Pattern) Art of the Torres Strait, Pataka Museum and Gallery, Porirua City, NZ
2012 Malu Minar (Sea Pattern) Art of the Torres Strait, The Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatu Art Gallery Nelson, NZ
2011 Malu Minar (Sea Pattern) Art of the Torres Strait, Southland Museum and Gallery, Invercargill NZ
2011 Malu Minar (Sea Pattern) Art of the Torres Strait, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns
2010 Malu Minar (Sea Pattern) Art of the Torres Strait, Tjibaou Cultural Centre, New Caledonia
2000 The Art of Place, The Fifth National Heritage Art Award,Touring Exhibition The Fifth National Indigenous Heritage Art Awards including Old Parliament House, ACT; Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga, NSW; Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide, SA; State Library of NSW, Sydney; The Araluen Centre for Arts and Entertainment, Alice Springs, NT; John Curtin Gallery, Unviersity of Technology, Perth, WA. Bitching Prints, Indigenous Artist work with master Printmaker Theo Treblay of ‘No Fixed Press’
2001 Trackin Kultja, Australian National, Museum, Canberra, ACT
2001 Thaigy Minaral – Beautiful Patterns, Port Kennedy Hall, Thursday Island, Qld.
2001 Gatherings, Brisbane Convention Centre, Brisbane, Qld.
2001 – 2004 Gelam Nguzu Kazi – Gelam My Son, Travelling Exhibition. Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW; Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, BC, Canada; Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London, UK; Brisbane City Gallery, Brisbane, Qld; Damien Minton Gallery, Newcastle, NSW; Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra, ACT; Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Vic; New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, NSW; Manning Regional Art Gallery, Taree, NSW; Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery, Stanthorpe, Qld; Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide, SA; Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo Vic; Mildura Arts Centre, Mildura, Vic; Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga, NSW; Manly Art Gallery, Manly, NSW; Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, Toowoomba, Qld; Noosa Regional Art Gallery, Tewantin, Qld; Cairns Regional Art Gallery, Cairns, Qld.
2002 Maiem Sewngpa Algeda to the Torres Pinnacles Gallery, Townsville, Qld.
2002 – 2005 Native Title Business, Travelling
2003 Showing of #2, Platform Exhibition Space, Flinders St Station, Melbourne, VIC
2003 Art Miami, USA represented by Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
Arco, Madrid, Spain, Represented by Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2004 Gelam Nguzu Kazi Gelam My Son, Gab Titui Cultural Centre, Thursday Island, QLD
Out of Country The Kluge Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Out of Country, Gallery 1601 Embassy of Australia, Washington DC, USA
2005 Postcard Show, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, QLD
Top Ten, Commonwealth Bank, Brisbane, QLD
Decade of Collecting 1995 2005, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, QLD
2006 7th Chamalieres International Triennial of Stamp and Original Engravings, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Chamalieres.
31st Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre, Perth, WA
Gatherings II, Gab Titui Cultural Centre, Thursday Island, QLD
Gatherings II, KickArts Contemporary Arts, Cairns, QLD
2007 Mai Piko Mai, Bishop Museum, Hawaii, USA
Blurred Boundaries, KickArts, Cairns, QLD
Caring for Country Exhibition, Cardwell, QLD
Ailan Current, Kick- Arts Gallery, Cairns, QLD
Looking Forward looking Blak, Kick-Arts Gallery, Cairns, QLD
PIKO Gathering, East HawaiI Cultural Centre, Hilo, HawaiI, USA
Ailan Currents, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, QLD
Lagau Githal, Dreaming Festival, Woodford, QLD
Gab Titui 3rd Annaversary Exhibition, Gab Titui Cultural Centre, Thursday Island, QLD
Maritime Stories, Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns, QLD
2008 Blunt Edge, Pink Phoenix Gallery, Cairns, QLD
Northern Stars, Artisan, Bisbane, QLD
BIG, Kick-Arts Lower Gallery, Cairns, QLD
Blak Roots, Kick-Arts Lower Gallery,Cairns,QLD
Few Good Men, Woolangabba Art Gallery, Brisbane, QLD
Art Brisbane, Brisbane Convention Centre, Brisbane, QLD
National Works on Paper, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington, VIC
ATE, Perth Convention Centre, Perth, WA
Paradise, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD
Blurred Boundaries, Artisan, Brisbane, QLD
2009 Hidden Treasures, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, QLD
Pillow Talk, Port Douglas Community Centre, Cairns QLD
Darwin Art Fair, Dawin, NT
Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Tanks, Cairns,QLD
Northern Mix,Woolangabba Art Gallery,Brisbane, QLD
Cracker, Kick-Arts Lower Gallery,Cairns QLD
Lagaw Gidhal, Creative Economy, Bisbane QLD
2010 Hogarth Galleries, Sydney. Muiyiw Minaral (Spiritual markings) with George Nona & Glen Mackie
2006 Winner, Non Acquisition Prize 31st Fremantle Art Awards, Fremantle WA
2005 Recognition Achievement Award from the Federal Parliament on behalf of the People of Australia and Member for Leichardt, The Hon Warren Entsch for Australia Day Award.
2004 Academic Achievement Award from Federal Parliament on behalf of the people of Australia and Member for Leichart,The Hon. Warren Entsch for Gelam Nguzu Kazi Touring Show.
2004 Academic Achievement Award from Federal Parliament on behalf of the people of Australia and The Hon. Warren Entsch for Urapun Muinu Garasar
2000 Highly commended 5th National Indigenous Heritage Art Awards.
2000 Academic Achievement Award from Federal Parliament on behalf of the people of Australia and Member for Leichhardt, The Hon. Warren Entsch for Indigenous Heritage Art Awards.
2001 TISHS Cultural NAIDOC Week, Thursday Island, Qld. Trackin Kultja, Canberra Museum & Gallery, Canberra, ACT
2002 NAIDOC Childrens Programs, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, ACT
The Art of Place, National Indigenous Heritage Awards catalogue.
Gelam Nguzu Kazi – Gelam My Son, Australian and International Touring Exhibition catalogue
Demozay M., 2001,Gatherings, Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art from Queensland, Australia. Native Title Business, Australian Touring Exhibition catalogue.