Rigo 23 (born Ricardo Gouveia, 1966) is a Portuguese muralist, painter, and political artist residing in San Francisco, California. He is known in the San Francisco community for having painted a number of large, graphic "sign" murals including: One Tree next to the U.S. Route 101 on-ramp at 10th and Bryant Street, Innercity Home on a large public housing structure, Sky/Ground on a tall abandoned building at 3rd and Mission Street, and Extinct over a Shell gas station.
Rigo was born and raised on the island of Madeira. He later established himself as an artist in San Francisco, earning a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 1991 and an MFA from Stanford University in 1997. From 1984-2002, Rigo used the last two digits of the current year as part of his name, finally settling upon "23" in 2003.
The bulk of Rigo's work more literally highlights world politics and political prisoners from the Black Panthers and the Angola Three to Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose conviction for the murder of a policeman is contested, and the American Indian Movement's Leonard Peltier. Rigo create a controversial statue of Peltier that was removed from the grounds of the American University in January 2017.
In 2005, he created a statue based on the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute titled Victory Salute, a twenty-two foot tall monument of two men: Tommie Smith and John Carlos. In the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, these men each raised a black-gloved fist for human rights. Their simple gesture of the hand is considered as one of the most controversial statements of political and social activism in Olympic history. Victory Salute is a monument of that moment which was specifically built on the San Jose State University campus because Smith and Carlos were both student-athletes at the college.
Rigo is one of the founding members of Clarion Alley Mural Project collective and is still an active member, as of 2006, as well as an occasional professor at The San Francisco Art Institute. He has also designed several installations as part of the 2006 Liverpool Biennial. He is considered by some art critics and curators to be part of the first generation of the San Francisco Mission School art movement. His work is in the collection of di Rosa.
- 1991 - Chauncey McKeever Award, San Francisco Art Institute
- 1994 - WESTF/NEA Regional Fellowshipfor Visual Arts
- 1996 - One Tree, Best Public Art Project of the Year, San Francisco Bay Guardian
- 1997 Stoli, San Francisco Arts Achievement Award Secession Gallery, Visual Art Residency Fellowship Award, Taiwan
- 1998 - SECA Art Award, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- 1999 - Biennal Award, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, New York, NY
- 2006 - Eureka Fellowship, Fleishhacker Foundation, CA
- 2007 - Howard Fellowship, Brown University, Providence, RI;
- Creative Work Fund, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, SF, CA with Luggage Store Gallery, SF