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 24, 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. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s pioneering collection of Latino art. It explores how Latino artists shaped the artistic movements of their day and recalibrated key themes in American art and culture.
Media - 1967.129 - SAAM-1967.129_1 - 65164
Artist to Artist
October 1, 2021September 3, 2023
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.