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- Volavka, Zdenka
1471-1991, predominant 1900-1999 (Publication)
ca. 660 photographs
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Zdenka Volavka, art professor and research associate at the Royal Ontario Museum, was born in Czechoslovakia and received her PhD from Charles University, Prague. She immigrated to Canada in 1968, and was Professor in the Department of Visual Arts, York University. Her research focused on analyzing the social context of visual art, material culture, history, and ethnography of west-central Africa. Her approach to studying African art combined extensive fieldwork with ethnographic, historical, scientific and linguistic analysis. Zdenka also studied the role of copper in the lives of the peoples of the lower Zaïre basin.
Her life's work was inspired by a trip in 1976 to the Musee de l'Homme in Paris, where she recognized the regalia of Ngoyo kinship labelled (for more than forty years) as a fishing basket. This was particularly important as no permanent regalia from any kingdoms in the whole of Central African have been recovered and only one set had ever even been seen by a foreign researcher. This research was published posthumously in "The Crown and the Ritual: The Royal Insignia of Ngoyo".
At York University, a research fellowship is honoured in her name to assist students engaged in field-based art historical research, which may include comparative study through collections as well as field activities, focusing on the art of the indigenous peoples of Africa and/or North America.
She is survived by her husband, Larry Landa, and son, Robert Landa.
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An inventory of books donated by Volavka are available through the York University Library catalogue (https://www.library.yorku.ca/find/Search/Results?type=AllFields&lookfor=From+the+Zdenka+Volavka+fonds+%28F0132%29&mylang=en).
See University of Toronto Archives and Records Management services for records on her collaboration and research with Ursula Martius Franklin (UTA 1287) (https://discoverarchives.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/zdenka-volavka).
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2002/04/12 Awaiting review by the Data Collection Archivist
2002/10/10 Shannon MacDonald. Update wording on Scope and content, custodial history and Finding aid.
2003/04/02 Shannon MacDonald. Add URL for online finding aid.
2017/10/04 KCP: Added GMD and start/end dates.
2018/04/04 KCP: Added graphic material (ca. 660 photographs) to extent, arrangement note, languages (Spanish, French, German, and note of African languages) and associated material (Franklin and books); updated date to reflect information in finding aid; cleaned up metadata, and imported file lists from word processing finding aid.
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