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Huichol Art: Transforming A Vintage Beetle in Mexico

Posted on December 11, 2010

Pimping Your Ride Via Indigenous Traditions


Applying beads to the “Vochol” (Vocho + Huichol) Image from the Facebook page of Museo de Arte Popular.

Mexico’s Indigenous people have been making art from millenia. When the Spanish invaded and conquered what’s now modern Mexico in 1492 they found complex metropolis, their buildings decorated with intricately carved sculptures and brightly colored painting. The painful conquest didn’t annihilate their passion for art making and in modern times their new works of elaborate pieces of art are often displayed in museums’ collections.


For the opening, some of the artists appeared in traditional garb of The Huichol, an indigenous ethnic group of western central Mexico

For this piece eight members of two Huichol families took the task to create a piece of art, seven months in the making, by using more than two million glass beads and a vintage Volkswagen as a canvas. Inspired by the designs of Francisco Bautista, a patriarch of one of the families, they incorporated their traditional indigenous theologies and cultural symbols with modern vernacular.

The serpents on the the front design represent “rain”, while the the roof is decorated with the sun and four eagles. Birds were thought to be the intermediaries between gods and mortals. The rear part and sides are tributes or “ofrendas” of fruits of the earth to their gods.

The piece will be shown at Museo de Arte Popular for a period of time and then the four wheeled piece will be go on tour in Europe and the in the rest of the Americas. Finally the piece will be sold at auction with the proceeds of the sale to benefit the programs of the museum.

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