There are only a couple more weeks to visit one of Canada’s premier museums before it closes for an extended period. After January 15, the Museum of Anthropology at UBC will shut down until late 2023 for building improvements and seismic upgrades to the Great Hall. Until that date, museumgoers can still take in Xicanx: Dreamers + Changemakers / Soñadores + creadores del cambio. This exhibition features the work of artists of Latin American ancestry in the United States.
Traditionally, they were referred to as Chicanos or Chicanas. However, in recent years, Xicanx has emerged as a more inclusive, gender-neutral, and anticolonial term, just as Filipinx sometimes replaces Filipinos and Filipinas.
MOA curator of education Jill Baird and Americas Research Network executive director Greta de León co-curated the exhibition. It includes the work of 33 Xicanx artists.
“Art is the vehicle for conveying messages politically,” de León says in the video below. “You can go back to the muralist traditions in Mexico in the beginning of the last century—and how it’s incorporated in the buildings and the walls.
“It’s what we see,” she continues. “It’s what we walk.”
Video: Greta de León speaks explains why art is a vehicle for conveying messages.
Xicanx presents diversity of artforms
According to de León, art is an “essential core” of the Xicanx civil-rights movement.
One of the featured artists is Los Angeles painter and muralist Judy Baca. Her Tres Maria is included in the show and is part of her series of portraits showing a strong Xicanx woman. In September, Baca spoke along with fellow artists Sarah Castillo, and Cathy Vargas as part of the MOA’s Xicanx Speaks! series.
In addition to paintings, the exhibition presents installation, photography, print, music, and film. “This is the first time a big Chicano exhibition is in Canada,” de León says.