Series 1 - Research

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Research

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  • Graphic material
  • Sound recording
  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Supplied title based on contents of the records within the series.

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1

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  • 1973 - 2010 (Creation)
    Creation
    Gillian Darling Kovanic

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Physical description

129 cm of textual records
4502 photographs : negatives and prints
1 compact disc (audio)

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Biographical history

Gillian Darling Kovanic began an undergraduate degree in anthropology in 1968 at Simon Fraser University. In August of that year, Kovanic left Simon Fraser University and spent most of 1969 – 1970 hitchhiking and travelling around the world, including stops in the United States, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, India, South East Asia and Japan. Upon her return to Canada in 1970, Kovanic transferred to the University of British Columbia where she began a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Anthropology, focusing on South Asia, and minors in Museology and Art History. She completed this degree in 1975.

Kovanic began her Master’s degree at the University of British Columbia in South Asian Anthropology in 1975, finishing in 1979. During this period she completed a year of field work (1976 – 1977) in the Hindi Kush (Kafiristan and Nuristan, Afghanistan) for her Master’s thesis titled, “Merit Feasting Amongst the Kalash of Northern Pakistan.” During this time in Afghanistan and Pakistan she collected ethnographic materials, which now reside with the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

In 1979, Kovanic returned to India as a Shastri Indo-Canadian scholar studying the Oriya language in Orissa state. She returned to Canada in 1981 and from 1983 – 1985 completed a diploma in Media Arts and Sciences in the Media Resources Department at Capilano College. Upon completion of this diploma, Kovanic joined Northern Lights Entertainment as a film producer and director. She worked as an independent film maker from 1985 – 1997 and joined the National Film Board of Canada from 1997 – 2001, before returning to her work as an independent film maker with her company Tamarin Productions Inc.

Kovanic’s film career has been widely successful, earning accolades at film festivals around the world for films such as Island of Whales (1990), Battle for the Trees (1993) Through a Blue Lens (2000) and Suspino: A Cry for Roma (2003). Her films have been nominated for many awards, including Gemini Awards, one of which she won for Island of Whales in 1992, the Golden Sheaf Awards and the British Columbia Leo Awards. On many of these projects Kovanic works as director, writer, producer and location sound editor.

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Scope and content

The series consists primarily of material accumulated and/or created by Gillian Darling Kovanic during her travels abroad, both as a student of anthropology and a filmmaker. This series includes field research conducted by Kovanic with the Kalash in Pakistan, the Kom/Kati tribes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Orissa in India, the Haida on the Queen Charlotte Islands [Haida Gwaii], British Columbia and the Kwakwaka’wakw in Alert Bay, British Columbia. Much of her fieldwork is made up of a study of the languages and cultural practices of the people being studied.
Included in the series are eleven field notebooks and thirty-nine corresponding cassette tapes, a handwritten Kalash’a dictionary, a notebook containing information on the ethnographic materials collected by Darling, which now reside with the Royal Ontario Museum, and approximately 4502 photographs, including slides, negatives, prints and digital photos. Also included are a number of academic and popular articles collected by Kovanic, which compliment her field research, including a unique, handwritten article by Wazir Ali Shah, secretary to the last ruler of Chital, Mehtar, in 1977, which was written after the original manuscript was lost. The series also contains published material, comprised of a teaching kit titled “Kalash Bread-making: From Field to Feast” and the Wakhi Language Book by Haqiqat Ali.

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