"I do a lot of self portraits partly because [...] I can only speak from where I'm coming from. I started out taking portraits of aboriginal women to try and situate who I was in the community [...] but ultimately I felt I needed to be the one that spoke from my position. "
Rosalie Favell is a photographer. She digitally combines and manipulates images from her Métis (Cree/English) heritage, the mass media, and family albums to present a multifaceted depiction of self.
Born in a suburb of Winnipeg Manitoba Favell was raised as an Anglican, her family did not discuss her Cree heritage. She credits her family and in particular her mother as her inspiration. She received her first camera at the age of 10.
Though her current work relies heavily on the use of computers, the switch from traditional black and white documentary photography to digitally manipulated images was a challenge for Favell. The impetus for the change came about when the technology she was using could no longer support her artistic goals. As such in the late 1990's she turned to friend and artist Larry Glawson to teach her how to digitally manipulate images. What resulted was a new way of working; the cutting and pasting together of images from a variety of sources to create a narrative which investigates issues of identity, an example of which is The Artist in her Museum / The Collector.
The image Searching for My Mother is complex collage of Favell's thoughts and reflections on religion, family and personal identity. Collaged onto the image of the Virgin Mary is a beadwork patch of the Mohawk saint Tekakwitha. In constructing this work Favell describes herself as "trying to situate myself in spirituality and [...] dealing with [...] colonization and the effect of the church on native people."
Aside from her artistic practice Favell is an academic. She completed her Bachelor of Applied Arts in photographic arts, Ryerson Polytechnic institute (1984) and went on to earn her Master of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Throughout her career she has continued to teach at the university level at schools such as the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg (98-99) and at the Institute of American Indian Art Santa-Fe, New Mexico, (94- 95). In 2009 she was completing a PhD at the University of Ottawa.