Tessikjakjuak camp, south shore of Baffin Island, Nunavut, 1893 – Cape Dorset, Nunavut, 1969Active in Cape Dorset
76.3 x 50.7 cm
Printmaker: Lukta Qiatsuk (1928-2004)
Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. Gr.1962.113
Parr and his family had led a traditional nomadic life for decades, maintaining two campsites. Parr provided for his family until a hunting accident left him with severe frostbite and the partial amputation of his right foot, necessitating reliance on his eldest sons. When he took up drawing in the spring of 1961, just before his move to Cape Dorset, he was a retired hunter, elderly, physically disabled, and exhibiting early signs of senility. But the flowering of the print program in the community afforded him the opportunity of reinventing himself as an artist. Between 1961 and late 1968, Parr produced over two thousand graphite, coloured pencil and felt pen drawings.
Parr’s very earliest graphite drawings are reminiscent of those by young children, but the artist quickly gained a sure hand and devised his own system of spatial organization, which evolved over the next few years. A relatively small set of themes obsessed Parr’s memories and preoccupied his eight-year artistic life: family, animals and the hunt. His early drawings are usually subject-oriented rather than narrative-based. Humans and animals are displayed rather than depicted in action, with humans most often shown frontally and animals in profile. Parr tended to disregard the actual relative sizes of his subjects, simply making those of greater importance larger. He also invented a trademark system of dots and dashes to represent facial features. His scratchy, schematized drawing style is translated admirably in this stonecut print by the master printmaker Lukta Qiatsuk.
© Reproduced with the permission of Dorset Fine Arts