In his soulful paintings, Caleb Hahne Quintana navigates his “blurred” family history
After his family migrated from Mexico and entered a process of “Americanisation”, the New York-based creative now uses his paintings to reclaim his Mexican identity.
The majority of Caleb Hahne Quintana’s soulful paintings take place during the later stages of dusk; the precise moment just before the sun disappears entirely, and the deep blue of night evades the sky. This gives the artist’s paintings a deeply evocative visual impression – gradients of pink and orange teamed with dusty blues – plus a layer of calm that envelopes each scene.
Matching the poignant nature of his visuals, the content Caleb explores is deeply personal. His work examines his family’s Mexican heritage and their migration to America, a history that's been “verbal, generational and blurred", and at risk of “erasure”. Focusing on depicting the people and places closest to him, Caleb tells us that, for him, “It's important to highlight and be the record keeper of my life as well as my family’s through researching and uncovering our histories.” One of his paintings shows a figure floating on their back, a lit cigarette in their mouth, a moment of peace in the large, flowing expanse of blue. Often finding himself drawn to natural landscapes, Caleb finds great meaning in water for “having its own migration path”.
Caleb Hahne Quintana: Third Bridge (Copyright © Caleb Hahne Quintana, 2022)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.