About the Art:
The paintings of Roel Flores were first shown in Texas Folklife’s gallery over 10 years ago. A community residency undertaken by Texas Folklife fieldworker Linda Ho Peché in partnership with the National Endowment of the Arts and The Texas Commission of the Arts granted Texas Folklife the opportunity to meet Roel Flores and learn how his experiences as a migrant worker and resident in Weslaco,Texas shaped his painting and music.
Roel Flores' work is intimately linked with la labor, the experience of traveling and working with planting and harvesting cycles. Flores’ paintings are a way for the artist to reflect on his memories and instill a sense of pride in future generations. Roel never forgets the importance music has in his life and art, “For me, la musica y la labor, they go together – the music was our hope of getting out of the fields, and our inspiration to keep working,” Flores says, “Through my paintings I would say, ‘Be proud of who you are, and where you come from.’ I have a saying, that when you go by a cotton field, cuando pases por una labor de algodón – stop, and go sit in la cabecera, the beginning of the row, llega y sientate en la cabezera de un surco y no hagas ruido, don’t make noise; listen – y pon mucho sentido, and you’re going to hear the laughter, and yes, also the crying of our people.”
About Roel Flores:
Twenty years ago Flores began to teach himself to paint as a way to preserve his memories and inspire future generations. Flores says, “I want the younger generation to be proud of the contributions of their parents and grandparents. There was pride in the work …When you go by a cotton field, stop – don’t make noise, listen – and you’re going to hear the laughter, and yes, also the crying of our people.”
Roel Flores is a musician as well as a painter. Flores picked up the bajo sexto at the age of 12 after being inspired by accordionist Valerio Longoria and bajo sexto player Santaigo Almeda. Flores continued to play the bajo throughout his life supplementing his pay as a fieldworker playing in conjunto bands on the weekends.