Contemporary at Blue Star Presents Xicanx: Dreamers and Changemakers

Contemporary at Blue Star Presents


Contemporary at Blue Star Presents Xicanx: Dreamers + Changemakers | Soñadores + creadores del cambio,




Contemporary at Blue Star is honored to present Xicanx: Dreamers + Changemakers | Soñadores + creadores del cambio, on view now through October 6, 2024.

As the exhibition title suggests, the artists in this exhibition are dreamers and changemakers. Of Mexican American origin, they self-identify as Xicanx, a term that crosses national borders and gender lines to encompass a multi-generational experience. This exhibition uses the term Xicanx to refer to Chicano, Chicana, and Chicanx. The term reflects those who fought for and claim this designation and incorporates the ‘X’ from the Spanish transcription of the Nahuatl sound ‘ch’. Nahuatl is one of the major Indigenous languages in Mexico. The ‘x’ on the end signals gender-neutral and non-binary inclusivity.


Contemporary at Blue Star Presents


The original conception of this exhibition came from a desire curators Jill Baird and Greta de León had to share the overlooked histories of American civil rights, including the Chicano/a civil rights movement of the 1960s and 70s, called El Movimiento. The installation at Contemporary at Blue Star is particularly significant due to El Movimiento’s roots in San Antonio, and the West Side of the city. From fighting for labor rights to equality for students, the work of San Antonio activists (and artists) played a crucial role in El Movimiento.



Some of the artists in Xicanx, began their work as part of El Movimiento. Much of the artwork created during this time sought to do the very things that this exhibition does: educate about the social inequity of Xicanx peoples, their history, and the importance of their culture. Other artists define themselves through their indigenous roots, and a younger generation expands the idea of Xicanx Art while continuing the work of addressing personal, social, and political issues of today.


Contemporary at Blue Star Presents
Jose Esquivel, La Tiendita, 2014. Acrylic on canvas. 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in). Photo courtesy of Mario Esquivel.


In their curatorial statement, Baird and Greta note the importance of this work, “Artists were a major and critical part of El Movimiento over 50 years ago, and they continue to be strong activists fighting for equality and against racism and discrimination. Being Chicano or Xicanx* is an identity all of the artists in this exhibition choose. It is more than being just Mexican American; it is accepting the responsibility to fight for their community, their culture and their civil rights. The artists in this exhibition are dreamers and changemakers.”


Contemporary at Blue Star Presents
Judith F. Baca, Judith F. Baca as La Pachuca, 1976. From Las Tres Maria installation and performance. Photographer Donna Deitch. Archival digital print.


Alongside the artwork are quotes, speeches, or sayings from prominent Xicanx authors, scholars, and exhibiting artists. A projection displays the work of murals across the United States, showcasing the reach and breadth of Xicanx voices in public art.



Xicanx: Dreamers + Changemakers | Soñadores + creadores del cambio was originally produced and presented by the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC and The Americas Research Network (ARENET), and curated by Jill Baird, former Curator of Education, MOA + Greta de León, Executive Director, ARENET. The presentation at Contemporary at Blue Star has been organized in collaboration with Mary Heathcott, Executive Director Contemporary at Blue Star; Jacqueline Saragoza McGilvray, Curator and Exhibitions Director, Contemporary at Blue Star; and Jon Hinojosa, President, CREO Consulting.


Contemporary at Blue Star Presents


The exhibition will be accompanied public programs and a Xicanx Month symposium, August 2024. Visit our events calendar for upcoming programs.


To learn, visit the Xicanx website–part catalog, part archive, part resource center. Please note that this website reflects the original presentation at MOA. Some of the artworks listed on the website may not be present in the Contemporary’s presentation of this exhibition.




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