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On Purpose: Artist's Biography

Xavier Tavera
August 16, 2018
To commemorate our 150th anniversary in 2018, the College of Liberal Arts commissioned 60 photographs taken by Xavier Tavera. Departments and programs partnered with Tavera to envision their images and to write the narratives that accompany each photograph. View On Purpose: Portrait of the Liberal Arts.

Photo of photographer Xavier Tavera sitting on a stool next to some bins and a Lost and Found sign
Pictured Xavier Tavera

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. His images offer insight into the diversity of numerous communities and give a voice to those who are often invisible.

Tavera has shown his work extensively in the Twin Cities, nationally, and internationally—including in 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.

Tavera received his MFA from the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts. He is a recipient of the McKnight Fellowship, the Jerome Travel and Study award, a Minnesota State Arts Board fellowship, and a Bronica photo scholarship.