Rosalie Favell

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Rosalie Favell (born 1958)[1] is a Métis (Cree/English) artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba currently based in Ottawa, Ontario, working with photography and digital collage techniques.[2][3] Favell creates self-portraits, sometimes featuring her own image and other times featuring imagery that represents her, often making use of archival photos of family members and images from pop culture.[3]

Early life[edit]

Rosalie Favell was born in 1958 to a Métis father named Gerald, and a mother of Scottish/English descent named Florence McFadyen.[4] She was raised in an Anglican household where the family's ancestry was not openly discussed.[5][6] Receiving her first camera at age ten,[5] Favell first formally explored her artistic impulse a number of years later at a night photography course which inspired her to continue learning the medium.[7]


Favell completed a bachelor of applied arts at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in 1984, a master of fine arts at the University of New Mexico in 1998, and a PhD(ABD) in Cultural Mediations at Carleton University in 2009.[1][8] In the late 1990s, when she was making a shift from documentary photography to digital photo manipulations, Favell learned from fellow artist Larry Glawson.[5]

Rosalie Favell has taught many courses and workshops throughout her career.[9] She has taught courses at the University of Manitoba (98-99), the Institute of American Indian Art Santa-Fe, (94-95),[5] Carleton University, and the University of Ottawa, to name a few.[10] Favell has also taught digital photography at Discovery University since 2013, a program run jointly by The Ottawa Mission and the University of Ottawa to offer people of low-income situations educational opportunities.[11] Favell has done several residencies as well, including residencies at the Banff Centre,[6] and the Nigig Visiting Artist Residency at OCAD University, where she presented the work Facing the Camera (2008-ongoing)[12] that consisted of a series of portraits of members of the Indigenous arts community.[13]

Involvement in organizations[edit]

Favell was an early member of the NIIPA (Native Indian/Inuit Photographers’ Association) in Hamilton, the first artist-run centre specializing in photo-based artwork by Indigenous artists in Canada.[14] She was a board member at the Floating Gallery Centre for Photography in Winnipeg and the Original Women's Network: a Native Women's Resource Centre.[15] Favell has also worked with Nepalese women's groups in Katmandu.[9]


A prominent and ongoing theme in Favell's work is self-portraiture. Favell often references the traditions of portraiture and self-portraiture, using traditional composition or even existing portraits, and replacing the historical sitter with herself.[16] An example of this is Favell's The Artist in Her Museum: The Collector (2005) that references Charles Wilson Peale's self-portrait displaying his collection, The Artist in His Museum (1822).[17] In Favell's work she replaces the collector with her own image and the collection of specimens with her family photos, and in doing so questions and overwrites the colonial practice of collection and display.[17] In her photo manipulations, Favell re-contextualizes specific portraits and the portrait tradition on a whole, often introducing her own Indigenous identity to create a dialogue.[16] Fellow artist and writer Barry Ace summarizes Favell's approach by stating:

“The collected images act as an aide-memoire, igniting personal and collective memory, while photo-digital practice provides her with an expansive tableau for visual expressions of self, family, identity and sexuality.”[18]

Favell has also created many works using documentary photography to create an image of the Indigenous community that she is a part of.[12] Works such as Portraits in Blood (1980s) use photographic portraits of Indigenous artists and friends to express and document Favell's own navigation of Indigenous identity.[12] Her ongoing Facing the Camera series, which began in 2008, consists of dynamic photographic portraits of roughly 450 Indigenous artists from across the globe including Daphne Odjig, Greg Hill, Bear Witness of A Tribe Called Red, Caroline Monnet, Heather Igloliorte, Kent Monkman, Mary Watt, Maree Clarke, Alex Janvier, and Mary Anne Barkhouse.[19][20] The active poses that Favell captures in Facing the Camera lend agency to the sitters and call into question stereotypes created in part by a history of portraiture of Indigenous people from a colonial perspective.[19][20]


Favell has received recognition and support for her work through several awards and grants throughout her career.[21] Favell was awarded the biennial Karsh Award in 2012 in recognition of her extensive body of photographic work,[22][23] the Ontario Arts Council Chalmers Arts Fellowship in 2004, and the Canada Council for the Arts Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in 2003, to name a few.[1] In 2017, Favell was awarded The Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Art Photography.[24]


Favell's work has been exhibited at and collected by the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Library and Archives Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery, Karsh-Masson Gallery, Cube Gallery, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art.[2] An exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (National Gallery of Canada) called Steeling the Gaze: Portraits by Aboriginal Artists that challenged stereotypical portrayals of Indigenous people through portraiture featured Favell's work.[25] Her portraits appeared alongside the work of other Indigenous artists such as KC Adams, Carl Beam, Dana Claxton, Thirza Cuthand, Kent Monkman, David Neel, Shelley Niro, Greg Staats, Jeff Thomas, and Bear Witness.[25]

Selected works[edit]

  • 1994 Living Evidence
  • 1980s Portraits in Blood
  • 1998 Longing and Not Belonging
  • 2005 The Artist in Her Museum: The Collector
  • 1999-2006 Plain(s) Warrior Artist
  • 2010 Wish You Were Here
  • 2008-ongoing Facing the Camera

Collaborative projects and groups[edit]

In 2017, Rosalie Favell organized a collaborative project called Wrapped in Culture which involved Indigenous artists from Canada: Favell herself, Barry Ace (Anishinaabe-Odawa), Meryl McMaster (Cree) and Adrian Stimson (Siksika-Blackfoot), and from Australia: Maree Clarke (Mutti Mutti, Yorta Yorta, Boon Wurrung), Vicki West (Tasmanian), Mitch Mahoney (Boon Wurrung, Barkindji), Molly Mahoney (Boon Wurrung, Barkindji), Kerri Clarke (Boon Wurrung), and Wade Mahoney (Barkindji).[26][27] The ten artists created a traditional Blackfoot buffalo robe and an Australian Aboriginal possum skin cloak at workshops spanning a few weeks.[27] The robes were incised and painted with designs in an act of storytelling, reclamation, and community building.[28][27]

Rosalie Favell is part of the OO7 (Ottawa Ontario Seven) Collective, a group of Indigenous artists that includes Ariel Smith, Barry Ace, Frank Shebageget, Leo Yerxa, Michael Belmore, Ron Noganosh, and invited “special agents.”[29] The group provides an alternative and experimental space for Ottawa-based Indigenous artists at different stages in their careers.[29]


  1. ^ a b c "Rosalie Favell - HIDE: Skin as Material and Metaphor - The National Museum of the American Indian - George Gustav Heye Center, New York, NY". Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  2. ^ a b "ARTFUL BLOGGER: Meet photo-artist Rosalie Favell, Ottawa's own Princess Warrior, whose images of Xena pop up in unusual places | Ottawa Magazine". Ottawa Magazine. 2013-04-05. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  3. ^ a b "Rosalie Favell at Petite-Vallée – Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie". Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  4. ^ Lidchi, Henrietta; Tsinhnahjinnie, Hulleah J. (2009). Visual Currencies Reflections on Native Photography. Edinburgh: National Museums Scotland. p. 37.
  5. ^ a b c d "Rosalie Favell". Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  6. ^ a b Gessell, Paul (2015-09-07). "SASKATCHEWAN: Rosalie Favell, "(Re)facing the Camera", MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Aug. 29 to Nov. 22, 2015". Galleries West. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  7. ^ Lidchi, Henrietta; Tsinhnahjinnie, Hulleah J. (2009). Visual Currencies Reflections on Native Photography. Edinburgh: National Museums Scotland. p. 38.
  8. ^ "CV | Rosalie Favell". Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  9. ^ a b "Cube Gallery - Rosalie Favell". Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  10. ^ "Rosalie Favell". Gallery 44-Centre for Contemporary Photography. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  11. ^ "Building community through education". Gazette. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  12. ^ a b c "- Exhibitions - Michael Schreier and Rosalie Favell September 10 - November 15 @ The Ottawa Art Gallery". Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  13. ^ University, OCAD. "Rosalie Favell's FACING the CAMERA Exhibit Inspires | OCAD UNI..." Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  14. ^ Loft, Steve; Madill, Shirley (2000). Alt.shift.control: Musings on Digital Identity. Hamilton: Art Gallery of Hamilton. p. 5.
  15. ^ " - Emergence from the Shadow - Rosalie Favell". Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  16. ^ a b "Self-portraits by women artists in Library and Archives Canada's collection". Library and Archives Canada Blog. 2015-05-02. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  17. ^ a b Parker, Judith (2010). Many Guises: Contemporary Self-Portraits/De multiples facettes: autoportraits contemporains. Ottawa: Bytown Museum. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-9812860-1-3.
  18. ^ McAlear, Donna; Ace, Barry; Becker, Christiane (2003). Rosalie Favell: I searched many worlds. Winnipeg: The Winnipeg Art Gallery. pp. 21–22.
  19. ^ a b Simpson, Peter (September 15, 2012). "Following the Red Brick Road: Award-Winning Photographer Finds Her Way Home". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  20. ^ a b "Facing the Camera | Rosalie Favell". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  21. ^ "CV | Rosalie Favell". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  22. ^ "Rosalie Favell wins 2012 Karsh Award – Canadian Art". Canadian Art. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  23. ^ "Rosalie Favell Wins 2012 Karsh Award for Photography". Ottawa Citizen. September 6, 2012. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  24. ^ "The Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Awards". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  25. ^ a b "Steeling the Gaze: Portraits by Aboriginal Artists". Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  26. ^ "CLIENT PROJECT: Wrapped in Culture in Ottawa – The L. Project". Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  27. ^ a b c "CUAG: Wrapped in Culture / artists talk - Events Calendar". Events Calendar. 2017-11-13. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  28. ^ "Wrapped in Culture recreates traditional Indigenous art in Ottawa - The Fulcrum". The Fulcrum. 2017-11-13. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  29. ^ a b "OO7 - It's Complicated". Central Art Garage. Retrieved 2018-03-14.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ace, Barry and Rice, Ryan. “Rosalie Favell: Longing and not Belonging.” CV: Photographie contemporaine, 53 (Winter 2000), 23-30.
  • Ace, Barry. Rituals of Collecting and Transformation: The Artistic Journeys of Rosalie Favell, BlackFlash, Vol. 24.3 2007.
  • Ash-Milby, Kathleen editor. Hide: Skin as Material and Metaphor, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, New York, New York, 2010.
  • Beatty, Greg. “Exposed: Aesthetics of Aboriginal Erotic Art.” Artichoke, 12:1 (2000), 34-6.
  • Butler, Sheila. “A Sense of Place: Photography in Manitoba.” Vanguard 16:2 (April/May 1987), pp. 41–2.
  • Campbell, Suzan. The American West: People, Places, and Ideas. Santa Fe, NM: Western Edge Press, 2001.
  • Cerdan, Alice. girl Guides boy Scouts: Navigating by our Grandmothers, Rosalie Favell and Arthur Renwick. Cahier no. 43. Montréal, Québec: Galerie B-312, 2000.
  • Dahle, Sigrid. “Dynamic of Riel images examined by 10 artists.” Winnipeg Free Press, 3/2/01, B:7\
  • Dessureault, Pierre and Hamelin, Louis-Edmond and Kunard, Andrea and Chartier, Daniel and Lunstrõm, Jan-Erik. Nordicité. Québec, Qc: J’ai VU, 2010.
  • Di Rusio, Tonia. In Absentia. Halifax, NS: Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, 1998.
  • Enright, Robert. “Legends of the fall.” The Globe and Mail, Saturday, 12 May 2001, Sec. V, p. 8.
  • Eyland, Cliff. “Officialdumbing.” Border Crossings, 20:2 (Issue No. 78, 2001), 122-3.
  • Farrell Racette, Sherry, Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years, Plug In Editions, 2011.
  • Favell, Rosalie. “Dossier: Amérindiens et Métis: art et politique.” Spirale, 171 (mars-avril 2000), 3, 6-7, 11-12.
  • _____. “Living Evidence.” Talking Stick, 1:3 (Spring 1994), 3.
  • Février, Ève. “Speculum de Rosalie Favell.” Esse, 25 (Automne 1994), 8-11..
  • Fraser, Graham. “Portraits of a people.” The Globe and Mail, Tuesday, 20/11/99, Sec. R, pp. 1, 3.
  • Gessell, Paul. “The Riel thing: exhibit shows Métis leader as hero to many.” The Ottawa Citizen, Saturday, 18 January 2001, Sec. K, pp. 1, 5.
  • Gilbert, André. Self Portraits in Contemporary Canadian Photography, Éditions J’ai VU, 2004.
  • Goggin, Kathleen. Rosalie Favell: Living Evidence. Montréal, Québec: Dazibao, 1995.
  • Hill, Richard William and L’Hirondelle, Cheryl and Nayhowtow, Joseph. The World Upside Down = Le monde à l’envers.Vancouver BC: Walter Phillips Gallery, 2008.
  • Jenkner, Ingrid. Living Evidence. Regina, Saskatchewan: Dunlop Art Gallery, 1994.
  • Lippard, Lucy R. “Independent Identities.” Native American Art in the Twentieth Century. Ed. W. Jackson Rushing III. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 134–48.
  • Madill, Shirley. A Sense of Place: Photography in Manitoba. Winnipeg: The Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1987.
  • Martin, Lee-Ann and Wood, Morgan. Exposed: Aesthetics of Aboriginal Erotic Art. Regina, Saskatchewan: Mackenzie Art Gallery, 1999.
  • Mattes, Catherine. “Introduction.” First Voices, First Words Issue. Prairie Fire, 22:3, pp. 64–80, 215.
  • Melnyk, Doug. “Rosalie Favell.” Vanguard, 14:7 (September 1985), p. 36.
  • Quick-to-See Smith, Jaune. We are One, We are Many: An Exhibition of Contemporary Native American Art. La Crosse, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 1997.
  • Robertson, Sheila. “Exhibition draws on family photographs.” The Star-Phoenix, 17/1/98, Sec. C, p. 10.
  • Starling, Mike. “UW-L art gallery director hopes ‘We Are One, We Are Many’ will change attitudes about style of art.” La Crosse Tribune, Thursday, 20 February 1997, Sec. E, p.8.
  • Tsinhnahjinnie, Hulleah J. and Veronica Passalacqua. Our People, Our Land, Our Images International Indigenous Photographers. The Regents of the University of California. Davis, California 2006
  • Urbanowski, Greg. “Métis photographer bares her soul: polaroids reveal intimacy of relationship.” Prince Albert Daily Herald, 20 January 1995, p. 9.
  • Whitebear-Reed, Joyce. “Photo-Realities: photographs by First Nations photographers." Talking Stick, 1:2 (Winter 1994), 6.