Caleb Hahne Quintana, Bernadette Despujols, Esteban Cabeza de Baca

The Salt of Two Seas

Within Latin traditions, emotions are frequently expressed through stories, intertwined with currents of history, myth, and personal narrative. Rooted in oral legacies passed down through generations, storytelling occupies a central place in the collective consciousness of Latin America. In The Salt Of Two Seas, artists Esteban Cabeza de Baca, Bernadette Despujols and Caleb Hahne Quintana employ narrative as vehicles for preserving their cultural heritage, transmitting wisdom, and fostering a sense of identity and belonging through their distinctive visual language.

The exhibition’s title, The Salt of Two Seas, draws inspiration from Quintana’s piece titled “I Am the Salt of Two Seas,” created in 2022. In explaining his piece, Quintana says, “It is completely about my genetic makeup: my mother being Latina, and my dad being German, and somewhere in the middle, my body met at these two oceans.” This title encapsulates the complex experiences of individuals straddling multiple cultures, where a sense of belonging is clouded with feelings of otherness and cultural alienation, while also presenting new perspectives and fostering an appreciation for diversity.

Implicitly conveyed in some of the works in The Salt Of Two Seas is a critique of the biased portrayals of the history of the land and its inhabitants, as exemplified by artists like de Baca. Born and raised in San Ysidro, a community situated in the southern part of San Diego, California, adjacent to the U.S.-Mexico border, de Baca’s upbringing is intertwined with narratives of colonialism and Western expansionism, a common thread shared by many Latinx individuals, including Quintana. Similarly, Despujols, a Venezuelan multimedia artist who relocated to the U.S. during the country’s crisis in 2009, explores themes related to the body and its position within social and cultural constructs specific to women. Her work delves into women’s self-perceptions, juxtaposed with societal and cross-cultural expectations.

A central tenet of the exhibition is to elucidate the contemporary Latinx experience, reconciling the adversities of migration, such as ruptures in one’s past or the assimilation of a new culture. In The Salt of Two Seas the exhibited artists offer a glimpse into the many stories and common threads of inhabiting multiple cultures, essentially highlighting the urgency for an optimistic, hopeful outlook of a world without borders, filled with cultural diversity and appreciation for our differences.

Artists: Caleb Hahne Quintana, Bernadette Despujols, Esteban Cabeza de Baca

Also happening at The Salt of Two Seas