Parr is a highly important artist from twentieth century Inuit art history. His drawings visualize an important period of transition from semi-nomadic life to relocation in settlements, such as Kinngait (Cape Dorset). A hunter for most of his life, he settled in Kinngait with his family in his later years due to an accident that prevented him from continuing to hunt . Parr was introduced to drawing and printmaking at the WBEC studios where he began to create his energetic yet minimal works .
In Untitled (family) (c.1960s) three human figures are depicted including a man carrying a hunting spear and a woman with traditional Inuit tattoos who is holding the hand of a small child. At the bottom of the page are two blue animals, one with sharp purple teeth and a larger mid-section. The human family is drawn in a blocks of blue and brown pencil that is loosely crosshatched. The figures are distinctly human and animal but are also vague and do not seem to be specific individuals. It is as if Parr is recalling a scene from his life but the details are no longer clear, recalling who was there but not how they appeared.
Parr is a significant artist who influenced later generations of artists in Kinngait. His work has been exhibited internationally and was featured on a postage stamp in 1977. Parr’s work is held in the permanent collections of major institutions including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON, Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, U.S.
1977 A stamp with the walrus hunt scene from Parr's "Hunters of Old" is released.
1991 "Walrus Hunters on Sea Ice" (1961) is featured on the cover of the fall issue of Inuit Art Quarterly
1. The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art, “Parr”, The Canadian Art Database, Accessed February 20, 2018, http://ccca.concordia.ca/inuit/bios_english/parr_bio.html
2. Werner Zimmermann, “Parr: His Drawings” Inuit Art Quarterly 4, no. 1 (Winter 1989): 28-31.