Sara Flores


vegetal dyes on wild-cotton canvas
56 3/4 x 56 inches

Through the simplicity of linear geometric forms, Sara Flores’s work echoes the profusion and endlessness of nature: fractal-like shapes multiply and spill over the canvas as if to reveal the imperceptible fabric of the world. Born in 1950, and part of the Indigenous community of Tanbo Mayo in the Peruvian Amazon, Sara Flores is locally and internationally recognized as a master artist of kené designs. Generally, these designs, which appear as linear patterns depicted on textiles, pottery, and objects, and that sometimes are drawn on bodies for protection, are representative of a unified worldview of the Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo Nation. Sara Flores started her initiation and training under the guidance of her mother when she was 14 years old. Today, she works on the designs with her daughters Deysi and Pilar Ramirez, painting together, side by side, in perfect consonance. The plant dyes they use often require multiple retracings to achieve specific intensities and the colors are always prepared with the local Amazonian flora; the leaves of the amí for the purple, the fruit of achiote for the red, a mix of the barks of the yacushapana, the xene xonosh, the almond tree for the black, and the root of the guisador for the yellow. This inherited knowledge about the plants—which also includes a complex set of medicinal and aesthetic uses in the community—is not only passed on from generation to generation on a matriarchal line, but artists like Flores must establish a personal relationship with the plants used.

[text by Adriana Blidaru, excerpted from C L E A R I N G website:]