Charreria: The Artisanship of Mexican Equestrian Culture

On View: 9/20/12 - 12/6/12

The special exhibition Charrería presents the exquisite artisanship of Mexican craft with more than 150 objects designed specifically for the charro, or Mexican cowboy.

Featuring leather work, costumes, textiles, silver and iron work that illustrate the life of these revered horsemen, these objects—many utilitarian in origin—have been transformed into detailed works of art that embody the very identity of the Mexican nation.

One of Mexico’s most important cultural traditions, Charrería stems from the Spanish-inspired charreada. The charreada is a festive event similar to an American rodeo in its variety of competitive equestrian activities. As in the American “rodeo culture,” Charrería extends beyond horses and riders to include aspects such as costume, music, and food that bring a uniquely Latino culture to a sport that has its roots in Spain. Mexican charros are recognized around the world as symbols of their national identity.

The exhibition showcases artifacts of Charrería culture, highlighting the work of the artisans who produce the traditional clothing and tools of the charro. Spectacular sombreros, saddles, bridles and intricate spurs showcase the precise work of Charrería artisans.

The exhibition reflects the charros’ passion for their vocation—often part of a longstanding family tradition—and the beauty of this culture. The splendor of the objects themselves is revealed, as well as the social processes that consecrate this tradition of civic spirit, and connect the artisans as an essential part of the art of the charro. Today, Charrería continues as a culture, tradition, sport and art, both in Mexico and abroad.

Charrería: The Artisanship of Mexican Equestrian Culture is organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC, in collaboration with Marisú González and Gabriel Cabello.

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