Consuelo and Porfirio “Pilo” Villalón

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About the Artist/Site

Porfirio Villalón, known locally as Pilo, was born in Cuevitas, Texas in a small house built by his grandfather now known as the Casa Vieja [the Old House], located at the rear of the property on which he lived all his life. After serving in the U.S. Army, Villalón was honorably discharged in 1960 and worked for the Water Boundary Commission prior to taking a position with the Texas Department of Transportation and Highways, which he held from 1963 until his retirement in 1992. His first wife, María Elena Villarreal, predeceased him while very young; he later married Consuelo Villalón, and they had a daughter of their own, blending her with Villalón’s two children from his first marriage.

While Porfirio worked, Consuelo cared for the children and also tended the town’s cemetery, founded in 1915 on land donated by Porfirio’s uncle, and full of family relatives. All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, as well as Mother’s Day, are particularly festive events. Soon, she also began to improve their home and garden, planting flowers, bushes, and a variety of trees, but also adding found objects picked up at the flea market or the dump. Bird houses, bird feeders, birdbaths, and birdcages are found throughout, a nod toward the abundance of migratory birds that seasonally populate the Rio Grande Valley. Standard rural garden decorations such as vertically-placed wagon wheels, state and U.S. flags, and novelty ceramic or cast concrete animal figurines are strategically placed throughout the yard; there are also painted plaques – many with images of birds as well – and old tires and plumbing fixtures repurposed as planters. That many are painted red, white, and blue provides a visual continuity to the varied elements.

Cuevitas, located in extreme southwestern Hidalgo County, and has been rated the poorest community in Texas. The 2010 U.S. Census counted its population as 40.

 ~Jo Farb Hernández

Map and site information

Not Exact Address
Sullivan City, Texas, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 26.261413 / -98.575584


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