Rosalie Favell, "The Hunting Party," 2015
Rosalie Favell, "The Hunting Party," 2015, oil on canvas, 24" x 24"
from an early age revisited (1994, 2016) is a body of work that draws upon photographs I made in 1994. Although this series was early in my art practice it explores key concerns that continue to preoccupy my practice. At the time, I became increasingly aware of the color of my skin. I started to examine my background through snapshots that my parents, primarily my mother, had taken in the early 1960s of the family. I looked at my family album, hoping it would reveal clues about my identity. When talking about my art work, particularly these works, I often recall the time I was sitting in the bathtub trying to scrub my tan off. My mother asked what I was doing and I told her that no matter how much I scrubbed and scrubbed I couldn’t get my tan off. I wanted to look like her. She told me that my dad had “Indian blood” and I had “Indian blood” and that was why my tan would not come off. We didn’t talk about it much until many years later when I started exploring my Métis heritage. Since that time, I have made many bodies of work dealing with identity. I have privileged photography as a medium. More recently, I have started to paint. I see painting as an extension of my photography that, for the most part, relies heavily on collaging through Photoshop. I have adapted this fluid way of working to revisit my “straight” photographs. Through painting, I challenge my engagement with my subject matter. I deepen my inquiries into their significance through an extended creative process that also contests the instantaneity of the photograph. Most importantly, the process of reworking images complements how I have always treated my subject matter, especially ideas of identity, which I see as rooted in histories and traditions, but also adaptable and in flux.
Rosalie Favell is a photo-based artist, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Drawing inspiration from her family history and Métis (Cree/English) heritage, she uses a variety of sources, from family albums to popular culture, to present a complex self-portrait of her experiences as a contemporary aboriginal woman. Her work has appeared in exhibitions in Canada, the US, Edinburgh, Scotland, Paris, France and Taipei, Taiwan. Numerous institutions have acquired her artwork including: National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (Ottawa), Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian(Washington, D.C.), and Rockwell Museum of Western Art (Corning, New York). She has received numerous grants, and won prestigious awards such as the Chalmers Fellowship, the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award and the Karsh Award. A graduate of Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, Rosalie holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico. She has studied and taught extensively at the post-graduate level. She has worked with grassroots organizations in Winnipeg with Inuit educational groups in Ottawa and Nepalese women’s groups in Katmandu.