NEXT ARTIST arrowright.GIF (261 bytes)











Milada Kovacova


  • born in 1964 in Toronto, Ontario
  • parents emigrated from Slovakia in 1950
  • B.F.A., Film Production, York University, Toronto, Ontario; M.F.A., Concordia University, Montréal, Québec

expanded images click on thumbnails at left to view larger images

Milada Kovacova's 1990 film, The Dance of Life, was the beginning of a sustained preoccupation with the lives of immigrants to Canada and their descendants. The film, an extended monologue of a first generation Canadian woman, has been described as a stream-of-consciousness which "reflects a discourse of existence fractured among the many 'characters' seen in the film [and] a dizzying exploration of many people in the process of becoming many other people" (Steve Reinke, 1990). Kovacova's 1991 film Skin Flick looked at skin as the site of cultural identity, and "the privileged vehicle for the representation of history . . . the marked skin is the point of entry for the analysis of institutions, economic processes and ethical systems. A metaphor for external boundaries, the tattoo traces an architectural system of social discipline applicable to . . . all the places that operate on principles of isolation and surveillance" (Robert Lee, 1992). In the summer of 1990, following the Czechoslovakian Velvet Revolution in 1989, Kovacova began shooting Searching for My Mother's Garden, a twelve-minute short film completed in 1992, which featured the women of Ocova, Slovakia working on collective farms. The title of this film was inspired by Alice Walker's essay In Search of My Mother's Garden. In this essay, Walker explores the strength and determination of African-American women who overcame the stifling effects of two hundred years of subordination by finding ways to express their creative voices. Kovacova saw parallels between the African-American women's plight and the oppression of the Slovak women peasants, who were the subject of her film. Agriculture and farming are considered by Kovacova to be inextricably linked to cultural heritage and the formation of ethnic identity. The persistence of this theme attests to the artist's concern that the disappearance of traditional ways of farming inevitably result in an erosion of cultural belonging. Based on Kovacova's personal journey back to her parent's village of origin, Searching For My Mother's Garden reveals the artist's questions about heritage and explores the undefined and ambiguous location of the first generation who struggle with the legacy of displacement. Kovacova's more recent Salt of the Earth (1998) is a film work that looks at the lives of peasants in Slovakia.



1994 Searching for My Mother's Garden
Mississauga Civic Art Gallery, Mississauga, Ontario



1995 Corpus
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan



Kovacova, Milada. Macho Man. 3.5 min. 1995. Sound Cassette.

Kovacova, Milada. Searching for my Mother's Garden. 12 min. 1992.

Kovacova, Milada. Skin Flick. 9 min. 1991.

Kovacova, Milada. The Dance of Life. 8 min. 1990.

Kovacova, Milada. Continuum. 4 min. 1989.

Kovacova, Milada. Dislocation II. 8 min. 1989. Sound Cassette.

Kovacova, Milada. Dislocation: Dilemma of a Ruralite.



Concordia Archives, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec
Mississauga Civic Art Gallery, Mississauga, Ontario



"Body of Recognition." Parallelogramme 18, no.4 (Winter 1992-93): 69.

"Film in the Gallery Neutral Ground, Regina, Saskatchewan." Parallelogramme 20, no.2 (1994): 75.

Grenville, Bruce, Jessica Bradley, Nicole Jolicoeur. Corpus. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Mendel Art Gallery, 1995.

Lee, Robert. "Skin Flick." Milada Kovacova: Body of Recognition. Toronto, Ontario: YYZ Artists' Outlet, 1992.

"Mother Hysteria: From madness to the motherland." Mix (Winter 1995/96): 26.

Reid, Stuart, Michael Davidson, Eshrat Erfanian, et al. Searching for My Mother's Garden. Mississauga: Mississauga Civic Art Gallery, 1994.

Reinke, Steve. Synopsis: The Dance of Life. Toronto, Ontario: 1990.


NEXT ARTIST arrowright.GIF (261 bytes)

arhome.GIF (262 bytes) HOME