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New exhibit showcasing political art used at frontlines of Sacramento's social justice movements

Sol Collective is re-opening its doors — after closing down due to the coronavirus pandemic — with an art exhibition by well-known Chicano artist, Xico González.
Credit: Xico González
Local Chicano artist's exhibition, “Hermosa Rebeldía: Selected Works by Xico González,” will be on display until Saturday, July 9 at Sol Collective, an arts and culture center in Sacramento.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Xico González is a local Chicano artist, educator and activist who has been making political art for more than two decades. Now, his work is being featured in a traveling exhibition, “Hermosa Rebeldía: Selected Works by Xico González,” which showcases his dedication to community activism. 

The exhibit will be on display until Saturday, July 9 at Sol Collective, an arts and culture center in Sacramento. 

“I'm really happy and proud that (Sol Collective) decided to re-open its doors with my exhibit,” González said. This is the first in-person exhibition since the center closed its doors two years ago due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event is free for everyone.

"All the pieces in the show have been used in the frontlines of the struggle for social justice and equity in Sacramento,” Xico González said. 

González's art addresses many social issues including police brutality, unjust immigration laws and islamophobia. The posters in the exhibit were created digitally and have been used throughout protests, marches, and rallies not only in Sacramento but across California including Stockton, Los Angeles and Oakland. 

His artistic style is distinct: simple, bold and colorful.  

Credit: Xico González
An art piece from the exhibition, “Hermosa Rebeldía: Selected Works by Xico González.”

There is a saying in Spanish that González says best describes his art, "sin pelos en la lengua,” which he says translates to "without any apology." His work aims to uplift the oppressed and shame the oppressor. 

When Donald Trump was inaugurated as president in 2017, millions of people across the country attended Women’s Marches in record numbers primarily to support issues that the Trump administration was expected to target. In Sacramento, González says women of color were excluded from the planning of the local Women’s March. In response, he partnered with them to address the lack of inclusion and diversity surrounding the event.

González created posters featuring diverse women and causes important to their communities, and he passed them out at the march. This included women from the Middle Eastern, Central American and African American communities.  

Credit: Xico González
An art piece from the exhibition, “Hermosa Rebeldía: Selected Works by Xico González.”

“We made those concerns seen by changing the landscape of the rallies through posters that we gave out to the people,” González said. 

As an artist, he is adamant about not making art for art’s sake, and he is using his "gift" to address issues and create change. 

The posters he made for the Women’s March in Sacramento will be part of the exhibit. This is the first time his digital poster art that was made for rallies and marches will be shown as a collection in art galleries. 

“A lot of the pieces I never shown them because they were created specifically for the movement, so it’s kind of nice to have all the body of work being shown at the same time," González said. "It shows the different struggles that I myself support and other people like me support too.”    

González is excited the exhibition is in Sacramento where he has been making art since 1998. 

“Hopefully, (people) will be inspired to create change in their communities, and support other people facing the same struggles as they are,” he said. 

The traveling exhibition will head to Sacramento State next. Follow González on Instagram for updates.

(Editor's Note: This story has been updated to provide clarity on González's career and this current art exhibition.) 

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