Benny Barrios

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Benny Barrios Biography

Benny Barrios is considered one of Sacramento’s pioneering Mexican American painters. It was in 1954 that this modest son of farmworkers began breaking down barriers. He was the first Latino to show at the Crocker Art Museum.

The cutting-edge series was called “Wetbacks” and portrayed the plight of the migratory farm worker stealing across the border. While some of Barrios’s pieces make biting political statements, the majority of his work reflects his love for Sacramento and for the rough and tumble neighborhood he grew up in. 4th and T was an area of prostitutes and bars. Barrios captured the hard-pressed time. This soft-spoken artist paved the way for the next wave of Mexican painters-the rebellious Chicano generation of the 70s-artists that combined an in-your-face art with protest and community activism. Barrios died in 1976.

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