La Mixta by Francisco Cervoni Brenes

By Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña

La Mixta (1960) by Francisco Cervoni BrenesInstituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña

Cervoni’s masterpiece La Mixta offers us a rare and rather intimate glimpse into the life of a group of workers.

As we delve deeper into the back of the room Cervoni has painted, the faces of the crowd become blurred and indistinguishable; their figures blending and disappearing into the background until they become wholly anonymous.

The tools shown in the foreground, mixed with the firm and determined brushstrokes of the artist, are meant to convey the physical and personal strength of these workers.

In the artwork, the workers are shown eating a dish known locally as a “Mixta”, which consists of a generous mix of white rice, red beans and meat. The title of the artwork is derived from this dish.

Nestled in the back of this work, we find a painting within a painting: a depiction of Ramón Emeterio Betances by Rafael Tufiño. It is the artist’s intent to invite the viewer to reflect on the workers’ struggle by making a comparison between Betances’ fiery call to action against chattel slavery and the working conditions of labourers at the time.

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