The National Museum of the American Indian Exhibits the “Vochol”: The Huichol Indian Decorated VW Bug

The National Museum of the American Indian Exhibits the “Vochol”: The Huichol Indian Decorated VW Bug

Fri, 2012-03-30

The Vochol, a piece of contemporary indigenous artwork, is being exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian from March 21 through May 6, 2012 in Washington, D.C. as part of its international tour. The museum welcomes the 1990s Volkswagen Beetle named "Vochol" decorated by indigenous craftsmen from the Huichol (Wixaritari) communities of Nayarit and Jalisco, Mexico, who used more than 2 million glass beads and fabric to decorate the vehicle. 

The name Vochol is a combination of vocho, a name for the Volkswagen Beetle in Mexico, and Huichol, which are the native Mexican Indians who beaded the car, originally from West Central Mexico and widely recognized for their colorful beadwork and fiber arts. The Huichol Indians took seven months to bead and design the car, which depict culturally important designs, ceremonies and historic events, including the Mexican Revolution and Mexican independence from Spain; the Vochol serves as a demonstration of the complex intersections between traditional and modern cultures, and helps promote the Huichol Indians’ rich culture and talent.

This one-of-a-kind vehicle is presented in collaboration with the Association of Friends of the Museo de Arte Popular and the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City, the Embassy of Mexico and the Mexican Cultural Institute. President Marie Thérèse Hermand de Arango of Mexico’s Museum of Popular Art, shared the Vochol’s latest itinerary for the international tour in an exclusive interview with MexicoToday.org, stating, “Following the Washington, D.C. exhibition, the Vochol will visit Denver in June for two months,” and, “After going back to Mexico for a first restoration, the Vochol will travel by sea to Paris, France where it will be exhibited on October 1. We are hoping to also show it in Brussels where we are in conversations with a famous venue. Following a second trip to Mexico for another restoration, the Vochol will come back to the United States for the April 2013 inauguration of an important building in Houston, Texas.”

For more on the Vochol, click here to see MexicoToday’s exclusive photos of the inauguration at the National Museum of the American Indian.