The Rugged, Beautiful World of the Sonoran Vaquero

The Sonoran Vaquero Exhbit  January 26 to September 20, 2008
Western Folklife Center Wiegand Gallery
501 Railroad Street
Elko, Nevada  


The Rugged, Beautiful World of the Sonoran Vaquero exhibition showcases ranch-related photographs and hand-crafted artifacts brought together as part of the Western Folklife Center's research and documentary work on ranch traditions of Mexican and Mexican-American vaqueros living and working in the Pacific Northwest, the Great Basin, and the Sonora and Sinaloa regions of Mexico.

Sonoran Vaquero Exhibit This exhibition also brings into focus the dramatic terrain and associated plant life that supports ranching in northwestern Mexico, and the quiet settlements along river valleys that are home for much of this region's craft, agricultural and horseback work.  

This is a region that prides itself on its cattle - exporting more than any other state in Mexico - and this cowboy identify permeates its everyday atmosphere. Factory produced and U.S.-made products have found a shelf in the marketplace even in the most isolated corners of Sonora, yet hand-crafted, locally made work is still valued and often necessary.

Sonoran Vaquero Gear Look for gearmakers in these small towns, and you will often end up in a backyard workshop of someone's home, in the shade of a tree, tarp or shed roof. Outdoor workshops are well-suited for this desert climate, and in this exhibition you will see some of the sturdy craftsmanship that has emerged from these workshops -- gear built for everyday use with the resources at hand and with the working person's budget in mind. 

Curated by folklorist Jim Griffith with Western Folklife Center staff, Meg Glaser and Christina Barr, this exhibition features the photography of Jim Griffith, David Burckhalter, Meg Glaser, Guy de Gallard and others.

Watching the Sonoran Vaquero video, Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland The Rugged, Beautiful World of the Sonoran Vaquero is on display in the Western Folklife Center's Wiegand Gallery alongside Buckaroo! The Hispanic Culture of the High Desert and the Folklife Center's interactive media stations, which feature films, stories, music and poetry of the American West.

Many thanks to: Francisco Javier Manzo Taylor; Jesús Garcia; Alfredo Gonzales; Taylor Museum of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; Ricardo Platt; Joe Wilder; David Yetman; Tom Sheridan; Gary Nabhan and others.

This exhibition was made possible with generous support from: 
Jim and Loma Griffith
National Endowment for the Arts
International Game Technology
Nevada Arts Council
Community Foundation of Southern Arizona
Southwest Center of the University of Arizona-Tucson

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