New exhibit celebrates colorful history of SF’s lowrider culture

Lowrider cars compete at the 2016 King of the Streets event in San Francisco to see how high they can jump using hydraulic lifts. Lowrider art, culture and history will be celebrated during an event opening this week in San Francisco. (Photo by tyrone/Flickr, courtesy of San Francisco Lowrider Council)

A free art exhibit opening Tuesday, Sep. 7, in San Francisco’s Mission District aims to highlight the history of lowrider vehicles — a celebrated form of expression for Latinos in the U.S.

The exhibit is being put on by the San Francisco Lowrider Council as part of the organization’s 40th anniversary celebration and can be seen at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts at 2868 Mission Street.

The exhibit will showcase the history of lowrider culture in the city, touching upon its beginnings as a social justice movement that rebelled against government censure and police brutality, eventually becoming an art form in its own right.

In a statement, San Francisco Lowrider Council Founder and President Roberto Hernandez said, “It’s important to remember that the San Francisco Lowrider Council exists due to community efforts to fight the racial injustice that made the council necessary to resist the San Francisco Police Department’s racist actions against Latinos and people of color.”

Roberto Hernandez is founder and president of the San Francisco Lowrider Council, a group he says was born of community efforts to fight racial injustice. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Sanchez De Alba/De Alba Communications)

The exhibit consists of historical photos, memorabilia, vintage clothing, news articles, posters, bicycles and vehicle parts; all illustrating the culture’s vivid history. The exhibit runs through Sept. 27, and is open Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In addition to the exhibit, the Lowrider Council will also hold a special event on Saturday, Sept. 18, along Mission Street, at 24th Street, featuring performances, food vendors, art, and, of course, lowriders. The event starts at 2 p.m. and goes through 9 p.m.

According to the Lowrider Council, the group was formed in 1981 as a resistance group against police who profiled Latino men in the Mission and outlawed cruising — which is the act of driving slow in a lowrider vehicle. The council continues to support social movements in the Mission, most recently helping with the Mission Food Hub, which provides some 7,000 San Francisco Latino families with free groceries weekly.

More information about the Lowrider Council’s 40th Anniversary Art Exhibit can be found on the group’s Facebook page.

Lowrider cars cruise through the streets during a 2018 carnival. The San Francisco Lowrider Council is planning a special event Saturday, Sept. 18, along Mission Street, at 24th Street, featuring performances, food vendors, art, and lots of lowriders on display. (Photo by tyrone/Flickr, courtesy of San Francisco Lowrider Council)

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