Juan Queztal + Xochil Xitlalli
Xochil Xitlalli is an artist and activist whose matriarchy hails from the Nahuas in Noxtepec, Mexico. She is the first-generation child of immigrant parents and grew up in Los Angeles, California. In 2005 she relocated to Las Vegas, where she has lived, worked, and continues to study the heritage of her forbearers. As a self-taught artist, Xochil fuses the past, present, and future among several mediums: acrylic on canvas, clay sculpture, jewelry, sewing/textiles, digital arts, and mixed media. Xochil has developed technical drawing and painting skills that reflect great pride in sharing ancient knowledge and inspiring others to learn the ways of the ancestors. Recently, she has focused on recreating the Mexica (Aztec) astrological symbols, companions, and guides, which also encompass her spiritual practice. Xochil’s art is born out of a combination of colonial and decolonial experiences: existing as a two-spirit person of color (“2spirit star seed”), surviving trauma, and rising up in triumph. One of her goals is to create and make culturally relevant art materials available for youth, to help ensure they will not be severed from their culture. Xochil is also working on cultural revitalization projects with other artisans in the community who are reconnecting with their Indigenous roots.
As an artist, Juan Quetzal (Queztal Visions) utilizes painting, sculpting, and interactive art installations as a means of healing, both for himself and the people his art touches. Quetzal possesses Indigenous roots in both Mexico and in New Mexico among the Tiwa Pueblos. He envisions his art as a conduit that connects him with his heritage and a mechanism that allows him to reclaim his Indigeneity. As a local organizer, Quetzal helps to promote mental health awareness, cultural revivalism, and the protection of Mother Earth. Driven by a passion for building community, he strives to reshape the image of Las Vegas, showing that the city goes far beyond the neon lights. Juan is also a trained alcohol & drug counselor and works with the Love Yourself Foundation, where he serves as a board member and resident artist. For him, art is a form of therapy and his creations are rooted with the intention to provide medicine for others. Quetzal’s ultimate goal with his art is to facilitate a connection for the viewer back to the Creator, reminding them there is still magic in the world and that we are all a part of it.