Xavier Tavera
Enmascarado I & II, 2003
Inkjet print on paper, 67 x 42 inches
2005.4.5 & 2005.5



These photographs, titled Enmascarado (which means “masked man” in Spanish), were originally commissioned for a storefront window in Minneapolis. The store owner, however, eventually rejected them, feeling they could be construed as too subversive. In Enmascarado I & II, Xavier Tavera staged two of his friends as masked subjects, speaking to and challenging our notions of heroism and terror. Tavera welcomes the many different ideas and reactions from viewers in response to these images, which are often about race, identity, or violence.



Xavier Tavera was born and raised in Mexico City. He studied law, practicing photography on the side, and eventually accepted a job that required him to relocate to the United States. He began taking color photographs in the United States to document the subcultures that arise within immigrant communities and the alienation prevalent in these subcultures. His photographs give a voice to these marginalized communities, offering the viewer an opportunity to discover similarities among people of different races and heritages.