Helen Kalvak, Inuit / Canadian, 1901 - 1984
Canadian Inuit
Central Arctic



Color stonecut print on paper


Sheet: 18 × 24 in. (45.7 × 61 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Jane and Raphael Bernstein



Joseph Kitekudlak


Holman Eskimo Cooperative, Ulukhaktok


Place Made: Ulukhaktok, Inuvik, Canada, North America


20th century

Object Name


Research Area

Native American


Native American: Arctic-Central and Eastern

Not on view


Signed, lower right, in pen: KALVAK; inscribed, in graphite, lower left to right: Eskimo Western Arctic Nightmare 45/50; embossed: Holman chop [ulu with word HOLMAN]; Numbered, on reverse, in graphite: 3/72


Helen Kalvak’s artwork is unique in its depiction of women as healers and sorcerers, sometimes undergoing transfiguration. In this technically difficult print, using four colors and intricate lines indicating animal fur, Kalvak illustrates a cross-section of an igloo where a nude woman sleeps in caribou robes. The figure is having a nightmare about a monster spirit, a polar bear that is about to devour her, but she awakes in time. Here, the solid, bold form of the bear spirit looms over the linear, open form of the woman, emphasizing human vulnerability.

From the 2021 exhibition A Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein Collection, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Katherine W. Hart, Senior Curator of Collections and Barbara C. & Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming; John R. Stomberg Ph.D, Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director; Jessica Hong, Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art; and Melissa McCormick, Professor of Japanese Art and Culture at Harvard University

Course History

NAS 30.21, Native American Art and Material, Jami Powell, Spring 2020

SART 20/SART 71, Drawing II/Drawing III, Jack Wilson, Fall 2022

Exhibition History

Inuit Art

Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein Collection, Class of 1967 Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 4, 2021–February 6, 2022.

Publication History

John R. Stomberg, A Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein collection; Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth College, Hood Museum of Art, 2021, listed p.100.

Published References

Holman 1972, Holman, Northwest Territories: Holman Eskimo Cooperative, 1972, catalogue no. 3.


Gallery of Eskimo Art, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; sold to Jane and Raphael Bernstein, Ridgewood, New Jersey, October 24, 1974; lent to present collection, 2011; given to present collection, 2013.

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