Helen Rose Kaloon

Helen Rose Kaloon is a textile artist born in 1959 in Kugluktuk, NU and currently resides in Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven), NU. Kaloon began sewing at a young age, learning from her mother when she was eight years old. Although predominantly known for her wall hangings and tapestries, she is also involved in clothing and doll production, both of which are at the root of her artistic journey [1].

Kaloon’s tapestries are composed of a wide selection of textiles, however, her fabric of choice remains felt. Her tapestries explore various themes of Inuit traditions, such as oral traditions, fishing, hunting and clothing production. The lines and contours of her figures are simple, soft, and speak of her honed skill, since she entrusts her creativity exclusively to her scissors to render the outlines of her pieces without prior tracing [2]. Despite the inherently flat surface, Kaloon skilfully incorporates a variety of materials within her works, creating a sense of depth and allowing the figures to emerge from the background. The narrative is typically limited to one scene, with at least one human figure or hybrid, some sea creatures and little to no landscape elements. The figures always wear an elaborate garment, a key characteristic of Kaloon’s style, as seen in the tapestry titled Standing Woman in a Beaded Amautiq (n.d.) in which a woman is portrayed from two different perspectives modelling an amautiq embroidered with with a fringe, tassel beads, and small flowers. Kaloon’s skillful depictions of clothing in her tapestries stem from her abilities as a seamstress. Her garments have been exhibited in two fashion shows, one hosted in 2002 in Kugluktuk [3], and at What to Wear this Winter (2015) hosted by the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Winnipeg, MB [4].

In addition to her own artistic practice, Kaloon is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Following the trend, Helen’s daughter Ashley Kaloon has attended her mother’s wall hanging workshop, organized by the Gjoa Haven Youth Committee [5]. Kaloon has conducted numerous workshops with youth in her community and at the Nunavut Art Festival. She holds prominent positions within cultural institutions, including Arts and Crafts Coordinator at the Nattilik Heritage Society in Gjoa Haven since 2012 and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Inuit Art Foundation [6]. 




Citations/Footnotes

1. “Kaloon, Helen,” Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association, accessed January 30, 2018, http://www.nacaarts.org/home/index.php/en/artists/artist-biographies?pid=60&sid=92:Helen.
2.Ibid.
3.Ibid.
4. “What to Wear this Winter: WAG Hosts Annual Fashion Show,” Winnipeg Art Gallery, last modified September 10, 2015, http://wag.ca/about/press/media-releases/read,release/456/what-to-wear-this-winter-wag-hosts-annual-fashion-show.
5. “Whimsical Wall Hangings,” Northern News Services Online, last modified February 18, 2008, https://www.nnsl.com/archives/2008-02/feb18_08wa.html. 
6. Inuit Art Foundation, “Board of Directors: Helen Rose Kaloon,” accessed January 30, 2018, http://www.inuitartfoundation.org/about/board-of-directors/.