Slowly the cars began to move. Slowly they climbed the steep hill. As they climbed, each little steam engine began to sing: “I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I think I can – I think I can – I think I can I think I can–” (The Little Engine That Could)
In this case, the little engines that could are Volkswagen Beetles, known in Mexico as vochos. These indomitable VW Bugs are ubiquitous on the streets of Oaxaca — in a rainbow of colors and in every stage of repair and disrepair imaginable.
They can even be spotted traveling along the walls…
“Vocho art” isn’t limited to murals on street corners. Check out this Huichol beadwork “Vochol” I saw on exhibit at the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City last October. It is the work of Francisco Bautista, Kena Bautista, Roberto Bautista, Diego Díaz González, Emilio González Carrillo, Víctor González Carrillo, Alvaro Ortiz, and Herminio Ramírez.
And, that isn’t all… Mexican artist, Héctor Garnelo Navarro has covered a 1994 VW Beetle with “19,800 semi-precious stones (e.g., obsidian, jade) that form images of pyramids, animals, ancient deities (Quetzalcóatl [Feathered Serpent, Creator God] and the Mictlantecuhtli [God of the Underworld]).” It is known as the Vocho Teotihuacano (Teotihuacán Beetle) and according to this article, he is finishing a Vocho Maya and is considering a Vocho Alebrije — the latter inspired by the wood carvers and painters of Oaxaca. So, keep your eyes open!