search facebook twitter instagram
Skip to the main content

Manny Vega: Carnaval Exhibit

Orange Background with Logo Watermark - Latino Arts

Manny Vega: Carnaval Exhibit

By Manny Vega | March, 2006

A native of the Bronx, Manuel "Manny" Vega is a proud proponent of his Puerto Rican heritage. Like Puerto Rico itself, his work is a blend of African, Latino, and other influences. Vega combines a wealth of materials into his paintings, mosaics, prints, and assemblages; his current focus is on ritual objects and costumes for traditional ceremonies. He is highly regarded in New York's art community, and has been named as Artist-in-Residence at the Guggenheim Museum. Other projects for this adventurous artist have included stage design for Paul Simon's musical The Capeman and a custom-painted set of timbales for the late, great Tito Puente. Vega is also known in New York for his public art projects. In addition to creating a series of mosaics for the the city's subway system, Vega has been involved in the restoration of several murals in the city, and often involves local youngsters in the work. This exhibit included an amazing array of objects, prints, and paintings that capture the diverse influences seen in Caribbean Carnaval celebrations. While the holiday itself is based in Christian traditions, Vega freely combined images and symbols that reach back to more ancient African roots. Combining extensive field research gained in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Africa, along with a personal interest in Yoruba and other animist spiritual practices, Vega created tangible examples of the power of cross-culturalism that speak to people from a broad spectrum of traditions.