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El Patio de Mi Casa

1990 María Brito Born: Havana, Cuba 1947 mixed media including acrylic paint, wood, wax, latex, gelatin silver prints and found objects overall: 95 1/2 x 68 1/4 x 65 in. (242.6 x 173.4 x 165.1 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program © 1991, María Brito 1997.71A-G Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

While preparing this installation Brito remembered the well-known children’s song called El patio de mi casa (The Backyard of My House). In Brito’s backyard, nature struggles to survive the uprooting of migration, here symbolized by the constricting cradle, barren tree shadows, and the cracked ground. Rain collects at the top of the wall and channels down into the sink, giving a tree sapling a chance to thrive. Brito’s humble Cuban American kitchen is a site of remembrance, transformation, and growth.

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, 2013


Architecture Exterior - detail - patio

Architecture Interior - domestic - kitchen

Object - furniture - cradle

sculpture - assemblage




mixed media

paint - acrylic



readymade - light bulb

readymade - photograph