Pure Plantainum

Copied Miguel Luciano, Pure Plantainum, 2006, green plantain plated in platinum and velvet, approx. 1233 in. ( cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, 2012.50A-B, © 2006, Miguel Luciano

Artwork Details

Pure Plantainum
Not on view
approx. 1233 in. ( cm)
© 2006, Miguel Luciano
Credit Line
Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment
Mediums Description
green plantain plated in platinum and velvet
  • Object — fruit — plantain
Object Number

Artwork Description

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

Description in Spanish

En la cultura popular caribeña, los plátanos pueden significar la mancha” de la ascendencia africana, la masculinidad, y la soberanía nacional. Luciano observó que para los jóvenes latinos este ícono funcionaba como una insignia que anuncia con orgullo sus raíces culturales. Su plátano enjoyado visualiza cómo los símbolos cambian a través de la migración. Al crear un objeto semejante à la joyería extravagante de hip-hop, Luciano también llama la atención a cómo los latinos continúan desempeñando un papel en la creación de esta cultura popular floreciente.

Nuestra América: la presencia latina en el arte estadounidense, 2013



Media - 2011.12 - SAAM-2011.12_1 - 77591
Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art
October 25, 2013March 2, 2014
Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art presents the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-twentieth century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge.
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Artist to Artist
October 1, 2021May 18, 2025
Artist to Artist features paired artworks, each representing two figures whose trajectories intersected at a creatively crucial moment, whether as student and teacher, professional allies, or friends.