Christopher had completed two years at the Glasgow School of Art, he and
Mary, and their infant son John, came back to Canada; in the fall of 1959
both returned to Mount Allison University, where Mary continued her studies,
and Christopher enrolled in the third year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts
program. During his years at Mount Allison, Pratt started making silkscreen
prints, some of which were exhibited in galleries across the country,
including the National Gallery of Canada. His first screen print, Haystacks
in December was included in the Young Contemporaries Exhibition at
the Art Gallery in London, Ontario in 1961. The screen print Boat
in Sand was selected by the National Gallery for inclusion in its
fourth Biennial Exhibition and purchased for its permanent collection.
Their second child, Anne, now a communications officer in St. John's, was born in May of 1960. Mary and Christopher received their Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in 1961 and returned to St. John's, where Christopher accepted a position as Specialist in Art at Memorial University. The cabin in Placentia, which had been a kind of refuge for Pratt, was destroyed by fire that spring, leaving him, as he observed at the time, "trapped in a maze of concrete blocks." For the first time in his adult life, Pratt had no personal space, nowhere to find the solitude that, very early in his development as an artist, had become so important. His world was confined to the newly constructed, modern concrete-block university buildings in which he worked, and a small house on nearby University Avenue. During these years, he put his printmaking on hold, taught extension classes at night and acted as curator of the newly opened Memorial University Art Gallery (now the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador). He stayed there until 1963 when, shortly after the birth of Barbara (now a painter in St. Philip's) he left to regain his sense of where he lived and who he was.
In the spring of 1963, Christopher and Mary moved their family to St. Catherine's, St. Mary's Bay and set up studios and residence in an old un-winterized summerhouse owned by Christopher's father. Their fourth child, Edwyn (Ned), who is now a photographer in St. John's, was born in 1964.
Photo Credit John Reeves
|Over the next decade, as Pratt's work and reputation as a painter and printmaker spread across the country, he exhibited more widely on a national level. Memorial University Art Gallery’s first one-person exhibition, curated by Peter Bell (1965), featured Pratt’s work. That same year, at the age of 30, Pratt was named an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (ARCA) and was made a member of the Canadian Society of Graphic Art. He traveled across Canada with the Canada Council Visual Arts Jury in 1969, along with Ulysse Comtois, David Silcox and Dorothy Cameron. Pratt met many of his contemporaries, including lain Baxter, Greg Curnoe, Claude Breeze, Charles Gagnon, Yves Gauthier and many others. He also met Mira Godard , who became and continues to be his dealer outside Newfoundland. Pratt’s dealer in St. John’s is Emma Butler.|
Pratt was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1973 and was made
a Companion of the Order in 1983. The Order
of Canada is the highest civilian honour bestowed on Canadian citizens.
Pratt has also been the recipient of several honourary doctorates from
Canadian universities: Mount Allison University, Doctor of Literature,
1972; Memorial University, Doctor of Laws, 1972; Dalhousie University,
Doctor of Laws, 1986. Throughout his career, Pratt has received many other
honours as well. He has served on many committees and councils, including
the Mount Carmel Town Council in St. Mary's Bay (1969-1975), the Federal
government's Stamp Design Advisory Committee (1972-1975) and the Board
of the Canada Council for the Arts (1975-1981). In 1980, at the request
of an all-party committee of the legislature, Pratt designed the Provincial
flag of Newfoundland and Labrador. The flag, with its blue and red
triangles and its golden arrow on a white background has become a beloved
symbol of the Province's past, present and future.