Political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz visits Seattle for a solo exhibition

The first time Lalo Alcaraz’s work was exhibited at Seattle’s Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery, it was part of a social justice exhibit a few months ago. The gallery’s co-directors say she didn’t stay there very long.

“Both pieces sold out on day one,” Jake Prendez said.

“In the first hour,” added Judy Avitia-Gonzalez.

“Throughout the month we had people telling us ‘we read you had a piece by Lalo Alcaraz,'” Prendez said.

So Prendez and Avitia-Gonzalez invited Alcaraz to put on a much larger solo show, which opens this weekend.

Alcaraz’s work often revolves around political and cultural issues — including vaccine hesitancy, the Jan. 6 riot in the US Capitol, as well as economic and immigration issues.

He was born along the border in Southern California to immigrant parents from Mexico. Alcaraz said that to combat the discrimination that immigrants often face, he began to turn to satire.

“It can kind of prick your critical thinking centers in your brain, you know,” Alcaraz said. American sense of humor, you know.”

For more than two decades he wrote a daily comic “La Cucaracha” and a weekly political cartoon, putting his point of view on the news.

“Everything I do is political or cultural or both, because of my upbringing and seeing this injustice early on,” he said.

Alcaraz, who has also served as a writer and consultant for films including coconut and TV shows, including border town on Fox, said he has seen steady progress in how Latinos are portrayed in media and popular culture. But he said there was still a long way to go.

Alcaraz is scheduled to speak at the University of Washington on Friday before his Saturday appearance at the gallery. This is his very first trip to Seattle.

A reception featuring Alcaraz is held Saturday afternoon from 2 p.m. at the Nepantla Cultural Art Gallery; a brief musical performance by La Cafeteras is scheduled at 4:30 p.m.

James C. Tibbs