Helen Kalvak

Canadian, c. 1901–1984

Fishermen Attacked by Birds, 1970

felt pen on paper

53.5 x 69 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from The Winnipeg Art Gallery Foundation Inc., the Estate of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Naylor, funds administered through The Winnipeg Foundation, and the Volunteer Committee to the Winnipeg Art Gallery



Drawing, Inuit

Helen Kalvak was one of the founding members of the Holman Eskimo Co-operative in 1961, and she continued to draw until 1978. From 1965 to 1985, 170 prints were created from her drawings, and a further six of her prints were featured in the memorial portfolio Kalvak/Emerak published in 1987. Kalvak was honoured with her induction into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1975 and was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1978. Kalvak’s father was a respected angakkuq (shaman) who taught his daughter much about the angakkuq’s special knowledge and powers. Known as a talented healer in her own right, the artist was particularly interested in the angakkuq’s relationship with animals, which could become spirit helpers, and her drawings are filled with such references.

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