This selection of artists’ self-portraits from the Mount Saint Vincent University Collection addresses both the experience of being looked at by others, and that of returning the gaze. As a corollary to their engagement with practices of looking and appearing, these self-portraits also tackle the frameworks of race, gender and sexuality.
In her extended photographic self-portrait, Rosalie Favell exposes the intersectional consequences of coming out as an Indigenous lesbian. Works by the African Nova Scotian artists Chrystal Clements and Jim Shirley confront the racializing gaze in inventive ways. Replacing images with words, Marie Koehler tackles and triumphs over patriarchal objectifications of women’s appearance. Sarra McNie, on the other hand, subsumes the representation of her nude figure in the formal problems of modernist painting.