Bruca Manigua

by Carlos Luna

Oil on Canvas

48 x 84.5 in
(122 x 214.5 cm)





Robert and Daisy Blanchard Cisneros Art Collection, Miami, Florida, USA.




Complejo Cultural Universitario, Puebla, Mexico, August 18, 2009 – January 17, 2010.

Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, October 2, 2008 – February 23, 2009.

Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach, California, USA. June 12 – August 31, 2008.

The Katzen, American University Museum, College of Arts and Sciences, Washington, D.C., USA, January 29 – March 17, 2008.

Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, Florida, USA, August 24 – November 24, 2007.  



Carlos Luna, Personal Histories, Susquehanna Art Museum, Polk Museum of Art & The Suzanne H. Arnold Gallery, Lebanon Valley College, p. 112 – 113, Published July 2006, Illustrated in color.

Carlos Luna, El Gran Mambo, American University Museum, Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), p. 31, Published 2008, Illustrated in color.  

Pablo Picasso Ceramics, Carlos Luna Paintings, p. 88 – 89 (Cat. 12), Published 2008, ISBN: 978-0-9678056-8-9.


Museum Descriptions  

Bruca manigua    

In Luna’s Bruca manigua or Wild Jungle from 2004, the guarjiro sits sideways near the left side of the painting on a little red stool that in turn sits atop a large Elegguá (a small Elegguá is attached to the bottom of the chair). His body is set against a dark shadow, on which, at knee height, sits the shadow of a black bird. Although there is a field of undulating plants in front of him, the guarjiro’s head is turned to the viewer, bearing a somewhat ambiguous mien. The vegetation is alive with all manner of objects that seem to morph into one another: gourds, eyes, mouths, horseshoes, knives, and, at the top, as if to hide what is below, fleshy-looking flowers. It is quite clear that we are contemplating a sacred grove filled with objects of magical power.

 Annegreth Nill ©

Bruca Maniguá” is the title of a very popular song written by black Cuban composer-musician Arsenio Rodríguez in the 1930s and recently repopularized by Ibrahim Ferrer of the Buena Vista Social Club. The song’s lyrics, which include this phrase, are in a mixture of the Yoruban language (of the slaves of that ethnicity that were predominant in Cuba) and Spanish, but mostly Yoruban, and express the yearning of a slave to escape “to the mountains”: Yenyere bruca maniguá: in the mountains lies the answer. Thus, “bruca maniguá” is “the mountains” or “the wilderness,” where the slaveholders can’t get at you.

 Enrique Garcia Gutierrez ©