Aqua Lungs (2017)


Parr Josephee
PA System –  Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka


782 Main St.
Winnipeg, MB
North End
(South-facing wall)


This mural is designed and painted by a collaboration of Toronto based duo, Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka, collectively known as PA System, and a 17-year-old artist from Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Parr Josephee. The Inuit inspired contemporary design is a tribute to Parr’s roots. The human figure in the mural is a self portrait of Parr holding his first fish, which he caught the summer this mural was painted.

This piece is two large watery lungs that hold humans, animals and a cross section of the earth together, portraying the interconnection between all three. Healing waters surround them. The deep, vibrant colours echo the rich cultures of Canada’s north. Winnipeg is a well known hub of Inuit art, and we are pleased to be part of this.

Patrick said, "When you’re creating a piece of public work, you need to create work that’s going to live with people… It can’t be preachy, but it should talk about something real.”  One of the “real” issues people from Parr’s home are facing is the impact seismic testing has on the wildlife living in the waters. Narwhal whales, one of which is depicted in this mural, are particularly susceptible to this testing. When the animals are negatively effected, the people also suffer. This mural is painted to speak to that issue, and to highlight the reality that we are all connected in one way or another. “It negatively affects the people, and it negatively affectParr Josephees all of us down south who have very little connection to the north but when those ties are broken between people, and a way of life, and culture, and food, and history… the potential for disaster is great,” Patrick says.

Parr beamed, “I’m so happy to be painting here. I feel good to paint here and have people see my work.”

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