Rosalie Favell: Indigenous Artists Facing the Camera

Rosalie Favell: Indigenous Artists Facing the Camera

Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University

Rosalie Favell, from the series “Facing the Camera.” Inkjet prints. Courtesy of the artist.* 

September 19, 2023
Rosalie Favell: Indigenous Artists Facing the Camera
September 20–December 3, 2023
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Opening conversation: September 27, 6–7:30pm
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Gallery talk: September 30, 12:30–1:30pm
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Open house celebration: October 21, 12–5pm
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Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University
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When Rosalie Favell, a photo-based Métis artist from Canada, picked up her camera to document fellow Indigenous artists at a residency in 2008, she did not expect to begin a major international project. But by 2018, her “Facing the Camera” series had grown to include more than 500 portraits of Indigenous artists and arts professionals taken across Canada, the United States and Australia. 

The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University will present the largest and most comprehensive showing of the series in the US from September 20 to December 3. 

Rosalie Favell: Indigenous Artists Facing the Camera will include over 100 photos from the series, as well as a suite of new portraits of Chicago-area artists and arts professionals taken during Favell’s Block Museum residency during the spring of 2023.

“Favell’s work is a living visual history and a critical intervention in expanding the visibility of contemporary Indigenous artists and arts professionals,” said exhibition curator Corinne Granof. “These portraits speak loudly of the broad diversity of Indigenous people engaged in the arts and cultural community.”

Motivated by an attempt to give her community as much representation as possible, as well as an understanding of Indigenous peoples’ complicated relationship with photography, Favell views each “Facing the Camera” portrait as a collaborative project co-created with the sitter.

“Just one at a time, I just kept taking pictures, I wanted to meet artists, and have that record for posterity,” Favell said. “I use the portrait to acknowledge the agency of the individual in bringing together their own cultural and personal sense of self.” 

Expanded series: Chicago portraits
Recognizing that Chicago is home to one of the largest urban Indigenous populations in the US, the artist was inspired to add artists of the region to her project. Favell and The Block worked with partners from Center for Native Futures, the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative, and the Center for Native and Indigenous Research at Northwestern to invite 20 new sitters to expand the series.  

During her residency at The Block, Favell met with local artists, had conversations with Northwestern students, and concluded the week with a portrait session at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, in Evanston, Illinois. 

Her new portraits, shown for the first time within the exhibition, will include the arts professionals: Annabelle Broeffle, Audra Simpson, Cherish Parrish, Chris Pappan, Courtney Biggs, Debra Yepa-Pappan, Ji Hae Yepa-Pappan, June Carpenter, Kelly Church, Kim Vigue, Le’Ana Asher, Lois Taylor Biggs, Lydia Cheshewalla, Mark M. Jourdan, Michaela Marchi, Monica Rickert-Bolter, Nora Moore Lloyd, Ryan Rice, Sharon Hoogstraten and Vincent Romero.

An opening celebration and conversation with the artist will take place on September 27. Admission to The Block Museum is always free and open to all. Watch: Rosalie Favell at The Block.

About Rosalie Favell
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Favell draws 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. Favell’s art often explores the relation of photography to issues of identity. Over the course of her career, her work has appeared in exhibitions in Canada; the US; Edinburgh, Scotland; Paris; Taipei, Taiwan; and Melbourne, Australia. Numerous institutions have acquired her artwork including the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and Global Affairs Canada. 

Exhibition credits 
“Rosalie Favell: Indigenous Artists Facing the Camera” is curated by Corinne Granof, academic curator at The Block, and Felipe Gutiérrez,  Block Museum 2022–23 interdisciplinary graduate fellow. Major support for the exhibition is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation, the Alumnae of Northwestern University and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

The opening conversation on September 27 will feature Rosalie Favell in conversation with Janet Dees and Ryan Rice. The gallery talk on September 30 will be offered by “Facing the Camera” portrait subject June Carpenter. The open house celebration on October 21 will include open galleries, food, music, storytelling and tours with  portrait sitters Mark M. Jourdan, and Kim Vigue. 

*Images above: (top row) James Luna, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 2011, Marie Watt, New York, 2010, Shan Goshorn, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2012, Alex Janvier, Banff, Alberta, 2008. (bottom row) Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2012, Chris Pappan, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2012, Me, Rosalie Favell, Melbourne, Australia, 2016, Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie with Amari, Ottawa, Ontario, 2008.

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Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University
September 19, 2023

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