Exhibitions: Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art

Miguel Luciano (b. Puerto Rico1972; works in United States). Platano Pride, 2006. Chromogenic print, 40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm). Courtesy of the artist

Artist Statement

My work addresses playful and painful exchanges between Puerto Rico and the United States. I am interested in examining how colonial subordination is extended through globalization as communities have shifted gears from a production-based society to one that is grounded in consumption. My work often organizes popular, religious, and consumer iconography into fluctuating new hierarchies to describe the hybridity of contemporary belief systems.



this picture is nice.i like the metal banna
— Posted by Jerry L.
this is marvelous
— Posted by imani
i like this because this boy is cut and i like him and i like the gold plantano that is around his nick. i love plantano and i love hi art i wold do some thing like that
— Posted by wynell pompey
i love this piece because the young man shows that you should look at my bling and that creative
— Posted by Rhoda Mae E. R. Rougier
This is absolutely brilliant. This type of decorative geography, culinary culture as adornment, is fantastic in conveying el especifico espacio americano del siglo 21 - the heavy, drunken type of joy that is identity politics.
— Posted by Emily G.
this is a powerful piece of artwork and it really showz the representation
— Posted by Honey Bunchezz HB
This work speaks volumes about who we are as Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and all Caribbeans alike. What is it that makes us glorify parts of our culture to such an extreme that they become stereotypes or symbols of who we think we are? This piece forces us to evaluate why we hold onto an idea or a symbol (in this case, the platano) without fully understanding the connotations it may have. This image represents me and my struggle to embrace my identity despite what popular culture already makes of it celebrating the actual fruit and not this popular "jewel" it has become. Miguel- Although unable to catch the show, I was fortunate enough to witness some of your work in progress and I congratulate you on a job very well done! Your endurance and perseverance in all you do is always admirable. Bless -Jasmin O.
— Posted by
i like this art work because it explains how that person feels about the pain between his country and the united states.
— Posted by cheryl
you wouldn't find anyone on the street wearig that unless it was on smaller SIZE
— Posted by person
i think it is funny but nice
— Posted by brittney simeon
— Posted by kimberly dobson age 12
This is cool
— Posted by Cierra
it is really stupid
— Posted by osei williams
I love this piece of art because it shows how art and hip hop can merge very nicely.
— Posted by
the artist chose a bad piece of "bling" but at least it was a healthy banana.LOL
— Posted by amelio wachowski
the author of the art is not afraid to make fun of thee idiotic fact of "bling"
— Posted by Elena wachowski
all my dominacan's put yo platano in da air....
— Posted by tony culo
His necklace must cost a fortune!
— Posted by Craven Morehead
he is verycute
— Posted by gail
it is funnny is he tring to cool coll or trying to show culter
— Posted by mahmoud
This work is among the best in the exhibition. I like what someone said in terms of it representing the commercialization of ghetto culture. I think that's so true but at the same time the reverse is true is well. It reflects the appropriation of materialism by latinos and african americans from concepts founded by western capitalism. After all, this is a symbol of what we have been conditioned to covet. So we have created our "own spin" on a long standing tradition of materialism- that on one hand, is being commercialized, but at the same time, being commercialized implies that it has righteous, or at least unadulterated roots. I can't say that what this represents does. What this represents is born out of an exploitative system that although does us so much harm we celebrate and spread as if it were a gospel.
— Posted by Alicia
At first i thought the island he's representing is Dominica. the reason i thought that was because the boy's chain is a plantain and I know Dominica for there Plantains. Also the boy is really cute
— Posted by Mimi
To me this says that not much has changed since Columbus landed. Here we have a boy wearing the shackles of white oppression, whether or not he knows his clothes and bling are considered “wrong” by whites is not explained but I know better. I would like to know from a Caribbean Latin perspective if this is indeed something to envy, if so why? The reason I say this is because as we know for the most part, the haves and have-mores do not dress in this manner but condescendingly accept it as a cultural difference. To me, it signifies culture created by force rather than something natural. The house-slave complex. Whether or not that art or expression emerged naturally is sadly and automatically dismissed because the context in which it exists.
— Posted by Cha
I don't think a man in a suit would be better or even the same. I don't think this piece is about a universal Puerto Rican identity. I think it has more to do with social class. The term expression "la mancha del platano" carries implications that denote occupation, social class, and even race. The people who might be labeled as carrying this "stain" probably wouldn't be wearing a suit and Puerto Ricans from the island wearing a suit probably wouldn't have much "platano pride."
— Posted by Vanessa Isabel
I think that it means that some people are begging for food for the more richer and really showing off that we (the "rich" people) are more better then them just because we have more stuff.
— Posted by Nunet
it's turning "nothing" into "something"
— Posted by BK student
— Posted by M. CANCIO
What i think about this 1 is the creativity the artist have on Puerto Rico and there views of the United States
— Posted by Jenise
this wouldve been better if it was a sophisticated Latino Man in a suit with the same platano and pose. that would spark more controversy....how? Because Latin Americans (from the actual places, not the US) are not ghetto.
— Posted by Marissa
strong statement about the beauty of things necessary and natural with our fascination with popular culture and wealth
— Posted by Dave
I think it's not a contradiction. It only represents the ignorant pride of some Puerto Ricans who wear all the stereotypical symbols imposed by the Americans as if they were something to be proud of.
— Posted by No Rossello for 2008 please!!!
highlights the commercialization of "ghetto" culture, and the inability of carribean poor to engage in that form of conspicious consumption
— Posted by
i belive our sociaties have gone from being makes to being buyers. when in the long run we still have a part of our heritage in us.
— Posted by zunilda rodriguez =]
I feel that this picture tells how the world takes pride in objects that usually stereotype them. Also that if one must take pride then take pride in something that is the most marketable output of your country.
— Posted by Mark G
Absolute favorite thing in the museum.
— Posted by Annie
this is a very deep picture with so much meaning
— Posted by Se-WA
i think this exibit is really nice.
— Posted by Emerald
deep,as a puertorican the picture speaks volumes,globalization is making all our realities the same,your work say,s look we are different
— Posted by Junior
I feel that this is not are
— Posted by Shantell
— Posted by ZINGA
I think the chain was very nice on the boy.
— Posted by britg
Platano boy!
— Posted by jonothan
i like this piece of art it represent puerto rican heritage
— Posted by frank brice aka frankie fresh
what was the point of having a chain with a plantain around your neck? is he Dominican or Puerto Rican?
— Posted by Jairiana and Francelly Rodriguez
This piece caught my eye; perhaps because I am a Latin-American youth but at the same time that I love platanos, I feel that this piece is depicting latinamericans as "ghetto" and uneducated or perhaps I have conflict more with the fact there is a young adolescent wearing it. It would have been cool if there was a latino man on his way to work with un platano in his hand depicting that following the "american" dream does not rid one of his culture...I dunno.
— Posted by Sandra
What I do not understand is how come platano has now become a term or pride and endearment? It seems as though you hear the term "platano pride" thrown around but if you were to call someone a platano they would take great offense, is that not a double standard? It is the same as African Americans refering to other African Americans as "niggas" but when someone else uses the word they are offended. This piece seems to be tribute to cultural and national pride but it contradicts itself.
— Posted by Roxanne Ali
The Plátano is a symbol with double meanings, a stereotypical yet iconic signifier of Caribbean culture. Indeed, Puerto Rican and Dominican immigrants were pejoratively referred to as "Plátanos" as they arrived in New York. Then there are regional associations that expand the meaning. In Puerto Rico for example, "la mancha del pltano (the stain of the plantain)" is an expression that historically referenced the indelible mark of ones skin color, culture or class. Today however, it is most often used as a statement of pride in one's roots and heritage. In the Pure Plantainum series, actual plantains were plated in platinum. They are like emblematic jewels on the outside, while the actual fruit is decomposing within. The work engages these contradicting spaces of who we sometimes are on the outside vs. the inside. And it flips the symbol, insisting upon pride over shame. -Miguel Luciano
— Posted by
Luciano work transforms post-colonial narratives with urban realities and beautifies it with poetic bling-bling. Brilliant. Love the plátano.
— Posted by Alexander Lamazares
way to go. i want a banana chain!!!!!!!!!!!
— Posted by cynthia
nice banana!!!
— Posted by kamal from azerbaijan
Congratulations Miguel!
— Posted by Miguel Guzman (from Miami)
Congratulations Miguel!
— Posted by Shana
i just had plantains for dinner :)
— Posted by zahra
Thanks for bringing a beautiful aesthetic to topics that are important in my neighborhood.
— Posted by Dave Herman - City Reliquary Museum
love the banana chain
— Posted by adriana
you have achieved your goal, mr. luciano, with humor and an abundance of pain
— Posted by vivian rivera
I like plantains.
— Posted by Gaspard Ulliel
I think this artwork is interesting and funny my Haitian grandmother's fried plantains.
— Posted by matilda
i think that today people in the urban community wear think that do not relate to their culture and in this picture this boy has a chain with a banana that relates to wear he is from.
— Posted by Tanisha Hyslop
amazing picture
— Posted by malik
I really like this image. At first, it looks like just another photo, but when you see the other part of the related exhibit and the comments/description, it really makes you think about this piece and culture in general. I also like how there is a simple background, it makes the child in the image stand out even more.
— Posted by Kemmeru
great image. As a person who is from a West Indian island it generates many thoughts about how the youth of the West Indies is affected by American culture
— Posted by K. Daniel

Exhibition Highlights
Highlight Thumbnail: Tirzo Martha: Spirit of the Caribe Highlight Thumbnail: Polibio Diaz: Despues de la siesta Highlight Thumbnail: Raquel Paiewonsky: Levitando: A un solo pie Highlight Thumbnail: Jorge Pineda: Mambru Highlight Thumbnail: Colectivo Shampoo: D La Mona Plaza Highlight Thumbnail: Storm Saulter: Waterboot Highlight Thumbnail: Marcel Pinas: Kuku Highlight Thumbnail: Christopher Cozier: Tropical Night Highlight Thumbnail: Alexandre Arrechea: Elementos arquitectonicos Highlight Thumbnail: Jean-Ulrick Desert: The Burqa Project Highlight Thumbnail: Glenda Leon: Prolongacion del deseo Highlight Thumbnail: Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla: Under Discussion Highlight Thumbnail: Alex Burke: The Spirit of Caribbean Highlight Thumbnail: Ewan Atkinson: You Will Have to Use Soap Highlight Thumbnail: Liset Castillo: Departure Point I Highlight Thumbnail: Satch Hoyt: Say It Loud! Highlight Thumbnail: Arthur Simms and Peter Orner: Globe: The Veld Highlight Thumbnail: Nicole Awai: Specimen from L.E. Highlight Thumbnail: Deborah Jack:T/here Highlight Thumbnail: Miguel Luciano: Platano Pride


Say It Loud! Artist Talk: Hew Locke Artist Talk: Raquel Paiewonsky Artist Talk: Deborah Jack Artist Talk: Polibio Diaz Artist Talk: Annalee Davis

Exhibition Catalogue
Catalogue Cover