Parr and Luke Anguhadluq: Drawing from Life

August 30 - October 30, 2011

Although they never met, Parr and Luke Anguhadluq share much in common, as men and as artists.

Born two years apart in the 1890s, both Parr and Luke Anguhadluq were hunters who grew up on the land and moved to centralized communities in 1961–Parr to Kinngait and Anguhadluq to Qamanittuaq.

Their hunting activities curtailed by infirmity and age, they forged second careers as artists, drawing from life experience and memory to make spare and remarkable images that often depict the hunt and, in Anguhadluq’s case, community and spiritual life.

In Parr’s drawings, hunters advance across the page–always from right to left–in stately armadas, pursuing and occasionally confronting animals in an unending quest for food.

Anguhadluq’s compositions are looser: he sometimes turns the paper while drawing, spiraling figures and objects out from the centre page. These drawings are also more abstract. The quest for food, for instance, might be symbolized by a lone fishing spear. Caribou antlers, spears and fish extend out from mask-like human faces, collapsing the physical and conceptual distance between humans and animals.

Neither artist gave priority to depicting recognizable places, individualized people or actual events recalled from memory, nor did they pay heed to Western ideas of naturalism and perspective. Both reduced their subject, whether fishing scene, family group or drum dance, to its most essential characteristics and rendered it with great stylistic economy.

The works of Parr and Anguhadluq may appear straightforward, but they offer intense glimpses into interior states and exterior realities that remain ultimately unknowable, both then and now.

Curated by

Sandra Dyck

Artists in the exhibition

Luke Anguhadluq, Parr