MOA Highlights Intersectional Art and Activism by Mexican-American Xicanx Artists in New Exhibit
UBC’s Museum of Anthropology (MOA) and The Americas Research Network (ARENET) announce the world premiere of Xicanx: Dreamers + Changemakers / Soñadores + creadores del cambio, on view at MOA May 12, 2022 through January 1, 2023 will showcase for the first time in Canada the rich traditions of 33 Xicanx artists, whose artistic practices draw on their Mexican-American heritage and generations of activism that began as part of El Movimiento, the rights movement civics of the 1960s and 1970s in The exhibition is a celebration of the many Xicanx artists who combined and continue to combine art and activism in the vital and ongoing struggle for social justice for all. Xicanx is co-hosted by Greta de León, executive director of the Research Network of the Americas, and Jill Baird, curator of education at MOA.
“Xicanx explores the ongoing struggle for social justice that countless Mexican Americans have consciously and sacrificially supported over the past six decades through their art and activism,” says de León. “Being Xicanx is a chosen identity. It is about more than just heritage, past and gender; it is about accepting responsibility to fight for their community, culture and human rights. Xicanx offers a platform for visitors to explore the indelible impact that Xicanx artists, in particular, have had on the American civil rights movement and beyond, addressing critical issues such as suffrage, education, land rights, immigration, and labor rights. This exhibition connects the brave past with present-day artistic activism, examining the essential mantle passed down through generations of Xicanx revolutionaries.”
Adds Baird, “Xicanx provides an opportunity for Vancouver audiences to deepen their knowledge of a critical social movement that has often been overlooked in American history. social justice movements, Xicanx art represents the many diverse voices and perspectives that have contributed to a lifetime of social justice initiatives on behalf of marginalized communities.”
“Xicanx” – the neutral grammatical gender of Chicano/a – is a term that transcends boundaries and gender to represent the lived, multi-generational experiences of Xicanx personal, social and political activism. Broadly identifying as Mexican Americans, Xicanx artists encompass many diverse backgrounds, including Mestizo/a (mixed ancestry with some Indigenous background), feminist, queer, non-binary, immigrant, and more. Working in all artistic mediums, Xicanx artists began their activism through art in the 1960s and 1970s, rooted in the broader civil rights movement in the United States, and remain essential to the social justice movement. today, addressing issues of borders and immigration, racism and hatred. crimes, identity and belonging.
Xicanx features works by 33 Mexican American artists from Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, New York and Texas, most exhibiting in Canada for the first time. The exhibition revolves around five themes: neighborhoods, identity, borders, home and activism. The works span from 1970 to 2022 and encompass mainly paintings and prints, but also sculptural works, multimedia and a new site-specific altar installation with a spoken video component celebrating “Rasquachismo”, a coined term by the eminent Chicano. scholar Tomás Ybarra Frausto. Each theme will be accompanied by quotes from Xicanx writers, scholars or artists, centering the voices of the community as authors of their own history. Representing a vast collection of Xicanx works, diverse in form, aesthetic and theme, the curatorial variety showcases an inherent strength in the movement’s diversity of thought, influence and practice, while including their identities. intercultural and intersectional shared.
Among the works that represent the earlier era of the Xicanx movement, a highlight is Lettuce Field with Target and Skull by Rudy Treviño (1975), a painting that confronts labor unrest and immigration issues at the heart of the major protests and boycotts of the 1970s, primarily by Mexican and Mexican-American farm workers.
Another highlight of early work is that of renowned artist and muralist Judith F. Baca. Her groundbreaking performance installation Judith F. Baca as La Pachuca (1976) is represented in the exhibition along with five photographs from the performance. In an art movement often dominated by the male lens, Baca plays with an unapologetic Chicana identity, dressed as Pachuca, a rebellious woman.
Among Xicanx’s more recent works is Alejandro Diaz’s Make Tacos Not War (2017), a simple but powerful statement in neon sign form that particularly resonates today, with several countries currently involved in various wars. The work is a call for peace and good food, two vital elements essential to the quality of life.
Robert Jose Gonzalez‘ diptych El Paso 8/3/19 and No Hate, No Fear (2019) pays tribute to the 23 victims of the El Paso, Texas massacre in the August 3, 2019 Walmart shooting. murderous against Latinos in modern American history, the horrific The Massacre is depicted through skeletons, offering an important commentary on the violent act while simultaneously evoking Mexican traditions of the Día de los Muertos.
Queer and non-binary artists are essential to the Xicanx community, who express their struggle for representation and acceptance both inside and outside of their communities. Queer feminist Debora Kuetzpal Vasquez created Citali: Cuando Eramos Sanos (2012), a comic book antihero that questions social and political issues regarding women and La Raza (culturally translated as “the people”). Non-binary artist Moises Salazar uses materials and practices unnecessarily qualified as women’s work – crochet, sequins and textiles – to highlight their identity and ongoing struggle for acceptance.
The exhibition is accompanied by Xicanx Digital, an online platform with artist contributions and essays on Xicanx film, food, music and murals. It is accessible in the gallery and online at xicanxart.com.
Tickets on sale now at: tickets.ubc.ca/moa