Music Video

Who was Celia Cruz?

June 2016

Marvett Perez (1961-2013) discusses who was Celia Cruz and presents objects held in our collections.

Smithsonian Artifact Featured in this Video

Data Source
National Museum of American History
Associated Name
Cruz, Celia
Date made
ca 1992
Credit Line
Gift of Celia Cruz
Physical Description
vinyl; leather; rubber (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 17 cm x 9 cm x 22 cm; 6 11/16 in x 3 9/16 in x 8 11/16 in
overall: 6 5/8 in x 3 1/4 in x 9 in; 16.8275 cm x 8.255 cm x 22.86 cm
Object Name
shoes, pair of
Description
This is a Bata Cubana, or Cuban Rumba dress, donated to the Smithsonian by Celia Cruz, the great Cuban salsa singer in 1997. An adaptation of the traditional Cuban rumba dress, it was made in the United States by Cuban-born designer José Arteaga. The Bata Cubana has its roots in the 19th century, with origins as diverse as the multicultural makeup of the people of Cuba. It brings together influences from Spanish, French, and African culture and dress, combining theater, fiesta, and the spectacle of carnival with slave and gypsy dress. The Bata Cubana is a garment worn for performance on stage or cabaret. Celia Cruz's Bata Cubana is made of orange polyester satin, trimmed with white nylon eyelet along ruffle-edges and eyelet beading along seams with inserted orange ribbon. The Bata Cubana was Celia's preferred performance costume.
Location
Currently not on view
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Associated Name
Cruz, Celia
designer
Arteaga, Enrique
Date made
ca 1992
date made
1973-1987
Credit Line
Gift of Celia Cruz
Physical Description
red (overall color)
polyester (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 55 in x 50 in x 93 in; 139.7 cm x 127 cm x 236.22 cm
Object Name
dress
Description
Red, gold, and blue sequin dress designed with horizontal, varied stripes and large open sleeves.
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Created by
José Enrique Arteaga, Cuban American
Worn by
Celia Cruz, Cuban American, 1925 - 2003
Date
1970s
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the Celia Cruz Knight Estate
Medium
sequin
Dimensions
L x W: 53 1/4 x 48 1/2 in. (135.3 x 123.2 cm)
Waist: 20 in. (50.8 cm)
Type
dresses