Parr Parr

Parr Parr

(1990 – ) | Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada

Parr Parr was born on May 17th in 1990.  Parr Parr comes from a family of talented artists like his great grandparents Parr and Eleeshushe Parr.  His great grandfather Parr started his drawing career later in life and produced over 2000 drawings in less than 10 years.  Major exhibitions and acknowledgements came after Parr’s death and his artwork “Hunters of Old” was chosen for a 1977 Canadian postage stamp.  His great grandmother Eleeshushe Parr was a prolific graphic artist, occasional carver and skilled textile artist.  Parr Parr’s Mom, Leah Parr has worked on carvings and jewellery making.  Parr Parr is the 2nd eldest in his family to parents Pootoogook Eli and Leah Parr and he shares his story.

I started carving inuksuks when I was 16 years old, after that I tried to carve bears and other animals, wolf, rabbit but they were not so good so I started carving birds for the past 8 years.  I sell to the Co-op and I am one of the artists whose work is sought after by galleries.  I am named after Parr my great grandfather.  My great grandfather was one of the first generation of graphic artists whose work was bold and primitive.  Parr, the graphic artist, was almost blind when he was doing drawings.

I live common law with Lao Nungusuituk and have three children.  Ages 7,4,2 – two boys and one girl.

Before I started carving on my own at about age 14, I used to help Noo Atsiaq, my uncle, who mainly carved bears.  I learned how to use the grinder and files and polish carvings.  Since I started carving, I have been supporting myself through my carvings.  Most of my carvings of birds are unique.  When I start carving I look at the stone first, at different angles to see what shape I will carve.  This usually takes about 5 minutes.  When I see what is in the stone, then I start carving away the stone.  I like carving birds, how their wings curve, and try to make them look like they are moving or in flight or perched, ready for action.  I first started carving owls with flat heads, and later I started carving ravens that have more rounded faces and longer beaks.

Two years ago, I taught Matt Flaherty, my friend, when he returned to Cape Dorset how to carve.  Matt has become a very good carver making detailed carvings of bears.  For the past three to four years I work at a friend’s house, Lucassie Mikkigak, another carver who lets me use his tools for carving and finish the pieces at his house.

I graduated from grade 12 and can get other employment.  I worked at various other jobs in town but I prefer carving to regular employment because I can make more money to support my family.  I used to go hunting with my grandfather Atsiaq Alashua, until he is now too old to go out hunting.  Atsiaq used to encourage me to go out hunting by walking to see what new things I could find on the land.  Now I have my children to look after and with my carving I do not have the time to go out hunting as I used to.

For more information on Parr Parr’s great grandfather Parr – https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/parr

For more information on Parr Parr’s great grandmother Eleeshushe Parr –
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleeshushe_Parr