Rosalie Favell is having a moment! On September 16th she was in New York for the opening of HIDE, Part 2, which features her series, Facing the Camera (2008-present) a growing collection of portraits of Indigenous artists and curators. The following week she was in Washington, DC at NMAI for the opening of Vantage Point: The Contemporary Native Art Collection, organized by Rebecca Trautmann, which features one of Favell's potent self-portraits titled “If only you could love me…” (2003): two very different approaches to portraiture by the Métis artist from Winnipeg.
“If only you could love me…” (above) is from the series, Plain(s) Warrior Artist (1999-2003) which draws heavily from pop culture, placing her likeness within scenes from movies and television shows such as Zena: Warrior Princess and Star Trek, as well as seamlessly blending historic and family photos. Each work is a personal comment on some aspect of her identity or biography. Those of you familiar with Western art might recognize that this work is a re-interpretation of Frida Kahlo’s haunting, Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair (1940) painted after her stormy divorce from Diego Rivera. Like Kahlo’s painting, Favell’s portrait is one of anguish and despondency; both show themselves surrounded by their shorn hair, dressed in men’s suit, and looking unwaveringly at the viewer. But while they both reflect on a lover’s rejection, Favell’s also explicitly references her own struggles with gender identity.