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A colorful pencil drawing of a caribou and walrus hunt by Inuit artist Parr | Donald Ellis Gallery

Untitled (Caribou and Walrus Hunt)

Parr, 1893-1969
Cape Dorset, Nunavut

ca. 1960

coloured pencil on paper

height: 19 ¾"
width: 25 ½"

Inventory # C4245

Please contact the gallery for more information.


Untitled colour-pencil drawing, ca. 1965 - See: Hessel, Ingo: The Drawings of Parr: A Closer Look, Inuit Art Quarterly, 1988 Fall, pg. 18

Originally drawing primarily with graphite pencil, Parr increasingly worked with coloured pencil and wax crayon after 1963. In the enlivened scene of Untitled (Caribou and Walrus Hunt), the artist uses blue, red and green to populate the page with two human figures together with two dogs, two caribou and a walrus. The drawing is less symmetrical in composition than Parr’s previous work, and human figures assume a much more prominent position in the overall scheme of the drawing. A hunter carrying a rifle and harpoon occupies the centre space, while another, smaller female figure is just slightly offset to the lower right corner of the frame. Man and woman are now easily distinguishable by their clothing. The depiction of the woman’s parka in particular has become much more naturalistic than one sees in the artist’s earlier work. While Parr retains his convention of depicting hunters in profile with other figures presented frontally, each are now actively involved in the action of the scene. The man grapples with his weapon while the woman holds one dog on a leash with another following closely behind. Each is carefully positioned behind the walrus and well to the right of the caribou, resulting in an overall leftward orientation of the drawing. This creates a sense of direction and movement not seen in Parr’s earlier work. The sense of movement is enhanced by Parr’s characteristic vigorous strokes of colouring. Yet it is largely this novel compositional layout which introduces the strong narrative dimension to this drawing. Untitled (Caribou and Walrus Hunt) epitomises the artist’s continued experimentation with colour, composition and subject-matter. In contrast to the work of his earlier period, Parr presents us with the very event of the hunt.

Parr (1893 - 1969) was born on the southern coast of Baffin Island, Canada, in 1893. He and his wife Eleeshushe Parr led a nomadic existence for most of their lives, spending their winters at Tessikjakjuak 'Fish Lakes’ and the summers at Tikerak or Nita camp. A serious hunting accident in 1961 obliged the family to settle permanently in Cape Dorset, Baffin Island, a famous Inuit artist colony founded in the early 1950s by James Huston. Having taken up drawing at the age of 68, Parr has become one of the most iconic artists of Cape Dorset, and indeed of all of Indigenous North America. His drawings and prints are in the permanent collections of major institutions worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art; New York; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and the British Museum, London. Parr has been featured in numerous important exhibitions as well as being the featured artist of three solo shows.

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