TORRES STRAIT

Billy Missi

Inspired by his culture, his deep concern for the environment, the sea and islands of the Torres Strait, and the art making of a new generation of Torres Strait Islander artist, BILLY MISSI was determined to make art his career.

'Moa Island was the original home of artist BILLY MISSI'

If you have ever been lucky enough to visit Moa Island in the Torres Strait you will know just what a beautiful place it is. We arrive by tinny at the jetty in Kubin. There are two settlements here, Kubin and St Pauls, separated by a twenty minute drive that takes us through open forest country and past Moa Peak, the highest point in the Torres Strait. The bright green of the island’s vegetation, the red soil, a spectacular contrast to the sparkling turquoise sea.

ANDREA HYLANDS and I were very fond of BILLY. BILLY died in late 2012 from complications related to diabetes. He was above all an artist who was dedicated to his culture, to his island and to his friends. Shortly before he died BILLY had asked us to take a series of photos of him as he wanted to create his own website. Little did we know at that time that our friend's life would be cut so short. We will miss him always. To honour BILLY Creative cowboy films has acquired, for its collection, the very last impression of BILLY's very last print.

This blog is in his memory.

On this occasion we met up with BILLY on a very rainy day at Canopy Artspace in Cairns. In this discussion BILLY describes why practising his art is so important.