'Water is Life', 2017, oil on Linen, 180 x 180 cm
Esteban Cabeza de Baca
Born San Ysidro, California (US), 1985
Having grown up in New Mexico and Colorado, Esteban Cabeza de Baca’s paintings are based on memories of the American desert landscape and its role as a social political signifier. For some, this is the land of the free, while others see a land they’ve been robbed of while their communities have been pushed into the margins. By deconstructing this regional American landscape, the artist unravels his Native American, Mexican and Spanish cultural background. The complex history of colonization, human rights and a quest for a homeland is told by the use of stories which tie Native communities together - shared stories, which blend into a collective imagination, as well as lost stories, which are restored to reconstruct a lost diaspora. Cabeza de Baca’s paintings expropriate the formal language of Postwar American and European painting, de-constructing an imperious view on its history, and through personal formal language reconstructing a narrative which critically reflects on the car crash of colonialism, without leaving any crumbs to the colonizer.