Esiri Erheriene-Essi

Studio practice

Esiri Erheriene-Essi is an artist from South London currently based in Amsterdam. Her large and colourful figurative paintings are full of depictions of everyday life that provide commentaries on society and history.

Erheriene-Essi bases her paintings on photographic source material, these images (along with the xeroxed transfers in the background) are sourced from her collection of personal, found and documentary imagery of the Black African diaspora experiences – from the colonial period up to the present. She picks up on the racial bias that is inherent in the technology of colour photography which was engineered for white skin. In the paintings, Erheriene-Essi explores the richness that she finds in the quiet histories within the source material and uses a vast range of colour as a way to make up for what was denied in the photographs.

In 2007 she attended the international residency programme De Ateliers in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In 2009 she won the prestigious Dutch Royal Painting prize, In 2014 she had her first museum solo exhibition at Museum Arnhem, the Netherlands and in 2019 she was shortlisted for the Prix de Rome.

Her work is included in the collections of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA), the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of The Netherlands, and Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, among others.