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Parr
Walrus Hunt Walrus Hunt
c. 1960 c. 1960

Born in 1893, Parr lived a traditional life on the land around Baffin Island, Nunavut, until 1961, when, due to age and a serious hunting accident, he settled with his family in Kinngait (Cape Dorset). That same year, under the encouragement of arts advisor Terry Ryan, Parr began drawing in graphite on paper, and went on to produce over 2000 drawings before his death in 1969. His work frequently portrayed hunters and animals and was included in every Cape Dorset print collection between 1961 and 1970; thirty-four in total. While largely unappreciated during his lifetime, Parr’s work has experienced a posthumous revival of interest, even appearing on a Canadian postage stamp in 1977.

In Walrus Hunt, three large and one small walrus appear to swim away from four hunters in kayaks. The figures are simply drawn and solidly coloured-in with graphite pencil; they float in space, one atop the other in a frozen chase. While the artist ignores any kind of naturalism or perspective, the narrative is clear. The large size of the walrus as compared to the hunters hints at their centrality to Inuit survival. The image is a forceful representation of a traditional lifestyle that was quickly disappearing by the time of its creation.

Parr
South Baffin Island NT 1893-Cape Dorset (Kinngait) NU 1969 South Baffin Island NT 1893-Cape Dorset (Kinngait) NU 1969
Walrus Hunt Walrus Hunt
c. 1960 c. 1960
Graphite on paper Graphite on paper
50.8 x 64.8 cm
Gift of Hunter and Valerie Thompson, 2020 Gift of Hunter and Valerie Thompson, 2020
63-017.01

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