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IMG_1460by Kassandra Manriquez

Pancho Medina, the Minister of Culture at Casa Maria calls his art gallery, The Rasquacho Gallery. The gallery is built into his home alongside many of his art pieces displayed from room to room.

Rasquacho is a term often used to describe somebody who is low-class, poor, disrespectful or dirty. An example of this might be someone who repaints his or her car using a bottle of spray paint. The term rasquacho is versatile; it can be used as an adjective, verb or noun. It can even be exaggerated; rasquachon (big rasquacho).

“It means a way of life for people living within the lowest means in the bottom rung of the economy and just doing the best they can,” Pancho said.

A rich person can also carry himself in a rasquacho way, like a businessman wearing a tie with a ketchup stain. “People do rasquachi things,” Pancho said.

Though Pancho identifies with and embraces the rasquacho lifestyle, he agrees that it is inappropriate to call anyone a raquacho, “It’s used as a put-down toward a class of people. Even the rasquachi people don’t like to be called rasquacho because it’s a put-down.”

Rasquacho art surfaced as a way of economizing in the 1960’s. Rasquacho art entails using items found lying around the home or knick-knacks that can be bought at the dollar store.

Pancho expresses his passion for immigrant rights through his art. He has also created pieces in honor of loved ones who have passed. His ability to turn $1 Halloween skeletons into attractive calaveras (skulls) that wear lipstick and sunglasses certainly redefines the term “rasquacho.”

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