Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Pure Plantainum

2006 Miguel Luciano Born: San Juan, Puerto Rico 1972 green plantain plated in platinum and velvet approx. 12 x 3 x 3 in. (30.5 x 7.6 x 7.6 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment © 2006, Miguel Luciano 2012.50A-B Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

In Caribbean popular culture, plantains can signify maligned African ancestry, masculinity, and national sovereignty. Luciano observed that for Latino youth this icon functioned as a badge of pride that announces their cultural roots. His bejeweled object – which houses a decomposed plantain within – visualizes how symbols change through migration. By fashioning an object that looks like extravagant hip-hop jewelry, Luciano also calls attention to how Latinos continue to play a role in creating this thriving popular culture.

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, 2013


Object - fruit - plantain


metal - platinum