by descent to the present Private collection, Montreal.
Terry Ryan is said to have introduced the elderly Parr to drawing in the spring of 1961, so My People is based on one of Parr’s earliest drawings. Parr’s earliest images could be described as “narratives” but they are not the lively, even busy scenes of his contemporary Kiakshuk (see Lots 27, 93, 103); they are more “displays” of his favourite subjects: people and the animals they hunt. My People succinctly but clearly delivers the message: “This is who we are! This is what my family and I used to do.” Despite its apparent minimalism and lack of detail, the image succeeds brilliantly in evoking a fondly remembered past. Parr would inject more action and narrative in later works, but here already the small figure in the lower register prepares to lunge his spear at his walrus prey. That Parr was obsessed with memories of animals and the hunt is a given, but Parr is more of a reminiscer than a storyteller. As art historian Marion Jackson writes of Parr’s work, “Hunting themes are not depicted as specific instances in time but, rather, are removed from historic time and attain an emblematic quality suggesting timelessness and permanence” .
Curator Norman Vorano writes of this print: “Evoking Un’ichi Hiratsuka’s bold tsuki-bori chiselling stroke, in which the printmaker plunges his chisel into the wood and rocks it from side to side to get rough and expressive lines, Lukta Qiatsuk adopted a loose cutting stroke on this print to capture the expressive vibrancy of Parr’s original pencil drawing” . Lukta’s printmaking technique is certainly used to maximum effect in My People. There is a graphic boldness to the print that, despite being darker and rather heavier than Parr’s original graphite drawing, still captures the spirit and naïve charm of Parr’s energetic drawing style.
1. Marion E. Jackson, “Parr’s Drawings: The Marks of a Hunter” in Parr: His Drawings (1988), p. 5.
2. Norman Vorano, Inuit Prints: Japanese Inspiration (2011), p. 75.
References: This print has been widely published. See Ingo Hessel, Inuit Art: An Introduction (Douglas & McIntyre, 1998), frontispiece; Leslie Boyd Ryan, Cape Dorset Prints: A Retrospective (San Francisco: Pomegranate, 2007), p. 79; Jean Blodgett, Grasp Tight the Old Ways: Selections from the Klamer Family Collection of Inuit Art (Toronto: AGO, 1983), cat. 74; and Norman Vorano, Inuit Prints: Japanese Inspiration (Gatineau: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2011), cat. 16. For examples of contemporaneous drawings by Parr see Ingo Hessel, “The Drawings of Parr: A Closer Look” in IAQ (Fall 1988), 14-20; Marion E. Jackson, Parr: His Drawings (Halifax: Art Gallery, Mount Saint Vincent University, 1988); and Drew Armour, “Parr: A Unique Canadian Artist” in Canadian Antiques & Art Review (April 1981), pp. 30-35.