Billy's Vision

14 Jun 2002 - ?

The mysterious drifter known only by the name of Billy was as startling for his physical appearance and style of dress as for his gifts as a visionary, artist and creator. Artist and organizer of the exhibition Billy's Vision, Andrew Hunter has recreated the historical environment of this original character, who was first recognized in the 1930's, near Saskatoon. Discover Billy's Vision at the National Gallery of Canada, from June 14 to September 2, 2002. Andrew Hunter first learned about Billy from field notes made by his grandfather on research expeditions in the Canadian prairies and the American west. Not many people encountered the enigmatic drifter during his short stay in Saskatchewan. Those who did described him as "different", "not like us" and "not from hereabouts." His very appearance seemed to confirm an otherworldly presence - "his skin, a pale, almost metallic, blue, long, thin arms and hands." His voice had its own strange quality "like two voices speaking at once, as if he had two sets of vocal cords, a high-pitched human voice superimposed on a Tyrolean yodel or the singing of a whale." Nearly 100 works, including 30 on paper, four paintings, 17 laminated photographs and 45 random objects, offer visitors to Billy 's Vision a chance to travel in time and into the life and personality of this visionary who translated his visions into poems, paintings and objects.