Presentation by Peter I. Crawford



Asen Balikci, who passed away in January 2019, was truly one of the pioneers of visual anthropology and ethnographic film. He was the first chairman, in the 1980s, of the Commission on Visual Anthropology (CVA) of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES). He was one of the last remaining giants of early ethnographic film and visual anthropology, and one of NAFA’s first honorary members, sadly the first one of these to pass away. He was also a very dear friend to many of us belonging to the more senior segment of visual anthropology, and although he did not travel in recent years, he was one of the most active participants in festivals and conferences all over the world, and his presence at these will be sorely missed. The last time we had the honour of inviting him to present his work at the annual NAFA festival was almost exactly 10 years ago, at the festival in Ísafjörður in Iceland, during which Asen took us on a tour de force of his own work with a powerful, enthusiastic focus on that part of his oeuvre for which he is probably and rightfully best known, his amazing Netsilik Eskimo Series. Younger people can google all his tremendous achievements while those of us who knew him well can mourn with the memories of all the wonderful times we had together with him.

The three first pictures are stills from Rolf Husmann and Manfred Krüger’s portrait film: The Professional Foreigner. Asen Balikci and Visual Ethnography (2009, 60 mins., Institute for Visual Ethnography). The last picture of Asen sharing a hotel room with Knut Ekström (NAFA) in Guangzhou was kindly provided by the photographer, Metje Postma.

Peter I. Crawford, Tromsø, 9 September 2019