Xavier Tavera: Photography and Community

High Visibility: On Location in Rural America and Indian Country

Xavier Tavera is a photographer who builds deep, long-term relationships with communities and creates work that expresses the humanity and historical currents within the complexities of contemporary Latinx culture.

After moving from Mexico City to the United States, Xavier Tavera learned what it felt like to be part of a subculture: the immigrant community. Being subjected to alienation has transformed the focus of his photographs to share the lives of those who are marginalized. Images have offered insight into the diversity of numerous communities and given a voice to those who are often invisible.

Xavier has shown his work extensively in the Twin Cities, and nationally and internationally including Germany, Scotland, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay and China. His work is part of the collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Plains Art Museum, Minnesota Museum of American Art, Minnesota History Center, and the Weisman Art Museum. He is a recipient of the McKnight fellowship, Jerome Travel award, Minnesota State Arts Board grant, and a Bronica scholarship.

Along the way in this conversation, we learn more about how Xavier came to photography, and his sense of the philosophical questions within the act of taking a picture – and we get to learn more about the town of Crookston, Minnesota, with which he’s had a decades long relationship. We also discuss his evolving Latinx in the Rural Midwest project, in particular his time with charro community and migrant dairy workers across this region.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Xavier also shares the work of Grupo Soap del Corazón, a dynamic, ever-evolving Latinx art collective he co-founded with Dougie Padilla. The exhibition La Línea: 22 Years of Grupo Soap del Corazón is currently on view at the Plains Art Museum through August 13, 2022.

Additional Resources:

High Visibility is a partnership with Plains Art Museum and Art of the Rural. We are grateful for the support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.


High Visibility: On Location in Rural America and Indian Country welcomes into conversation artists, culture bearers, and leaders from across rural America and Indian Country. This podcast accompanied the exhibition of the same name at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND, which was on view from November 30, 2020 until May 30, 2021.