Curating Xicanx: Dreamers + Changemakers.

i. My Name: Jill Baird

ii. My art-related Career: Curator Museum of Anthropology at UBC

iii. The name of our upcoming exhibit is:  Xicanx: Dreamers + Changemakers /Soñadores + creadores del cambio

iv. Its location: Museum of Anthropology at UBC

v. The exhibit runs from: May 12, 2022 til January 1, 2023

vi. My role in the exhibit is: co-curator. Greta de León, based in Mexico City, is the other curator for this exhibit.


Tres Marias (detail), Judith F. Baca. Collection of the artist. Photo courtesy of the artist


vii. In describing the exhibit in 3 sentences or so, I’d say:
This is an engaging and dynamic exhibition of contemporary art by artists that are all are dreamers and changemakers. They are of Mexican American heritage—self-identified as Xicanx*. Their work crosses all mediums and they are part of a rich tradition of combining visual art and activism. The art work reflects a mixture of personal, social and political issues of our times including racism, social justice and community.

viii. In the exhibit, you’ll see:
The work of 33 contemporary Xicanx artists in various media including neon, paintings, prints, installation and video. The work ranges in scale from intimate neighbourhood scenes to epic images of confronting racism.


Lettuce Field with Target and Skull, Rudy Trevino. Collection of the artist. Photo courtesy of the artist


ix. The inspiration for this show comes from:
The Chicano Civil Rights movement – El Movimiento in the 1970’s and the fight for equality and inclusion that Xicanx artists and activists continue to advocate for. Another inspiration is to see artists from different traditions showcased in Vancouver.

x. One challenge in developing this show was:
Developing an exhibition during COVID was a challenge. Co-curators work in different cities and countries and we needed to meet artists and others in developing the show primarily through Zoom. It was good luck that we were able to do some in-person studio visits before COVID descended in March of 2020.

xi. One particularly rewarding thing in developing the exhibit was:
Meeting the artists was the best part of doing the exhibition. They all were very generous with their time, sharing experiences and inspiration. So many of their experiences resonated with the social and cultural world here in Vancouver. I think the show is stronger because their experiences are very similar to others here in Vancouver who experience racism and social difference.


Citlali: Cuando Eramos Sanos, Debora Kuetzpal Vazquez. Collection of the artist. Photo courtesy of the artist


xii. By attending the exhibit, we hope that you feel:
Empowered to work towards a more equitable world, Emboldened to fight racism and homophobia and Inspired by artists and activists who share their passionate and beautiful work.

xiii. Anything to add:
The exhibition is a welcoming space that brings visitors into dialogue with the works by foregrounding the artists words. Xicanx Digital is an on-line companion to the exhibition with information on the artists, great essays and a fantastic play list – find it at


Header Art: La Güera, Ana Hernández. Private collection. Photo courtesy of the artist.


Missy D


Peggy Lee

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton