Profile: Malaika Favorite (1949-)

Malaika Favorite is an American visual artist and writer whose art work can be found in major collections in the U.S. She works mainly in oil, acrylic, and watercolor and has carried out experiments with folded canvas and the written word as another dimension of a painting’s text. Her provocative paintings and sculpture pieces emanate as much from her personal history as it does from the wider world.

Early life

She is the second of nine children, to Amos Favorite, Sr. and Rosemary Favorite. In the 1960s she integrated the  Ascension Parish high school in Geismar, Louisiana, when she became the first African-American to attend the all-white school.

Career

Favorite received her B.A and MFA degrees in fine art from Louisiana State University where her first works appeared. Her art work is featured in Art: African Americanby Samella Lewis, Black Art in Louisiana by Bernardine B. Proctor and the St. James Guide to Black Artists, edited by Thomas Riggs and can be found in the following collections: Absolut Vodka collection, Morris Museum of Art, Augusta GA, Louisiana State University Print Collection, Baton Rouge, LA, Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria LA, The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta GA, Hartsfield International Airport, Atlanta GA, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati Ohio, Rosel Fann Recreation Center, Atlanta GA. She also has outdoor murals on Auburn Ave in Atlanta and on White St. in Atlanta.

Favorite works in a variety of forms and media. Her experiments with literature as part of the painting’s text and those with folded canvas are prime examples, and she’s equally at home working in oils, acrylics, water-colors, and lithographs.She notes in one of her artists statements that: 

it is very difficult to explain a work or art, mostly because the work is its own explanation. Art is not for the immediate audience only, if it was it would be a prop or backdrop for a play, designed to be viewed for a limited time. Visual art should be timeless. It should speak to each generation, and to each viewer as an endless dialogue that continues to inspire, fascinate and delight.

She has published three collections of poetry: Illuminated Mansucript, New Orleans Poetry Journal Press (1991), Dreaming at the Manor (2014), and Ascension (2016) winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. Her poetry, fiction, and articles appear in numerous anthologies and journals, including: you say. say and Hell strung and crooked (Uphook Press) 2009 & 2010, Pen InternationalHurricane BluesDrumvoices Review, Uncommon PlaceXavier ReviewThe Maple Leaf Rag, Visions InternationalLouisiana LiteratureLouisiana English JournalBig Muddy, and Art Papers. She is the winner of the 2005 Louisiana Literature Prize for Poetry.

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