FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2015
Regina, SK – (Re)facing the Camera features two contrasting bodies of portraiture by Karsh Award-winning artist Rosalie Favell. Facing the Camera (2008-2015), presented here for the first time in its entirety, encircles the viewer with 288 portraits of Indigenous artists and curators—a monumental portrait of the professional creative community to which Favell belongs. Tucked in the midst of these contemporary black and white portraits are images of a homier sort: small canvases that revisit the family albums of her childhood. Together these photographs and paintings present a complex self-portrait that shows how personal and cultural identity is created through many contexts, events, and affiliations.
In Facing the Camera, Favell recognizes the agency of the individual. There are numerous social, cultural and personal factors— Aboriginal and Western—that are brought together in a conscious and unconscious way through which a sense of self is expressed. The individuals are not posed by the photographer but are given space to find their own way of dealing with the camera. “For most, standing in front of a camera is unnerving. For many Aboriginal peoples, however, placing oneself within the photographic frame is a political act.” Facing the Camera offers a snapshot of many significant intellectual and creative players who have individually and collectively made contributions to contemporary Indigenous art production and practices, including Daphne Odjig, Alex Janvier, Tom Hill, Rita Letendre, and Shirley Bear, Gerald McMaster, Shelley Niro, Ruth Cuthand, Kent Monkman, Adrian Stimson, Lori Blondeau, and Candice Hopkins, to name a few.
Recently, Favell has further deepened her engagement with her subject matter through painting. “In some ways, painting contests the instantaneity of the photograph. In another, it complements how I have always treated my subject matter.” Favell works to create images that are an amalgam of fact and fiction. Using oil paint she is able to “infuse the static photograph with memories, real and desired.” In these newest works she revisits photos taken by her parents, siblings or friends. “I still want to talk about ‘Indian-ness’ in my family, and illustrate the ever-elusive image of what Métis-ness looks like today.” Depictions of family outings or events investigate how popular representations of “Indian” culture have been performed, playfully and innocently, but also intentionally, as a means to signify cultural identity.
Drawing on the familiar – whether family albums or the artists and curators that she calls friends – these works advance Favell’s musings on the idea of self as something both rooted in histories and traditions but also adaptable and in flux. In the process, the photograph is revealed as a performance space where identity is constantly worked and reworked, re-presented, or perhaps hidden.
About the MacKenzie Art Gallery
The MacKenzie Art Gallery is Saskatchewan’s oldest and largest public art gallery, offering a wide range of contemporary and historical art programs. The MacKenzie Art Gallery Vault is home to more than 4,500 works in the Permanent Collection by internationally renowned artists such as Picasso, Rodin, and Edvard Much, as well as an impressive Canadian collection with pieces by Greg Curnoe, Joyce Wieland, Dorothy Knowles, the Regina Five, Joe Fafard, Bob Boyer, and many others. The MacKenzie features world-class exhibitions and public programs, research, publications, and more. For more information, please visit mackenzieartgallery.ca.
MacKenzie Art Gallery Hours and Admission
Monday to Saturday: 10 am – 5:30 pm
Sunday and Holidays: 12 – 5:30 pm
FREE ADMISSION Suggested Donation: $5
Rosalie Favell, Facing the Camera: Alex Janvier, Ottawa, ON, 2008, photograph on paper, edition 2 of
10, 49.8 x 39.9 cm. MacKenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina Collection, 2011, purchased with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program.
Rosalie Favell, Facing the Camera: Lori Blondeau, Ottawa, ON, 2009, photograph on paper, edition
1 of 10, 49.8 x 39.9 cm. MacKenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina Collection, 2011, purchased with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program.
Rosalie Favell, Facing the Camera: Adrian Stimson, Ottawa, ON, 2009, photograph on paper, edition 1 of
10, 49.8 x 39.9 cm. MacKenzie Art Gallery, Univer- sity of Regina Collection, 2011, purchased with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program.