Born in 1982 in London, United Kingdom
Lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Esiri Erheriene-Essi is predominately a painter of mid to large-scale paintings concerned with figuration, history and society. She is captivated by history – in particular, images, objects, and documents which we can return to, in order to examine both individual and shared memories and histories. A large part of her practice entails collecting and creating an archive, which could potentially become incorporated into her work. Archives are important to the artist as they create links and orders that she can question and play with – she searches for the discrepancies, the silences, in order to, through painting, create interruptions and assaults on the canonical historical narrative. With hindsight, bias and curiosity, she takes these discordances and brings them up to the surface. Erheriene-Essi continuously re-edits the narratives with the hope of robbing history of some of its tyrannical power by creating new scenarios. Or rather, she is incessantly attempting to imagine more humane and liberating narratives than what has gone before. In the process she perhaps slightly changes our readings of history and thereby shows how we write the present.

In her work, Erheriene-Essi makes many references to popular culture, because popular culture is profoundly mythic and loaded. The canvases she makes are a theatre of popular desires and fantasies, where we all can discover and play with the process of identification. These ‘theatrical scenes’ show the imagined as well as the underrepresented, not only to the viewer but also to the artist herself. The paintings ‘play’ in their own way – they are telling a story, even though the scenes have no beginning, middle or end – they are cut off mid flow, out of context, are frozen, silent and still. Yet they have ‘sound’ as if they are performing and want to be heard. The audience is continuously invited to watch as well as to try and decipher the haphazard plot in which characters are encased in. The good thing about performing on canvas is that anything is possible – and that is what intrigues Erheriene-Essi the most.



Born in 1982 in London, UK
Lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands


  • 2007-2009 Post-graduate Institute, De Ateliers, Amsterdam, NL
  • 2004-2006 MA (with Merit) Fine Art, University of East London, London, UK
  • 2001-2004 BA (Hons) Media Studies, University of East London, London, UK
  • 2000-2001 Camberwell College of Art (foundation), London, UK


  • 2021 I am here because you were there, solo exhibition Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, NL
  • 2020 The Pearl, Ramp Gallery, London, UK
    Galerie Ron Mandos booth, Armory Show, New York, NY, USA
    Realisme Nu, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Schiedam, NL
    ME: An Exhibition of Contemporary Self-Portraiture, High Line Nine, Chelsea, New York City, USA
    Empathy | No human is an island, Museum Ijsselstein, Ijsselstein, NL
  • 2019 Prix de Rome 2019, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam, NL
    Your Voice Matters, Museum Arnhem (De Kerk), Arnhem, NL

  • 2018 The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on(solo), Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, NL
    De Kersentuin (4), KunstRAI, Amsterdam, NL
    Common Ground, AkzoNobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam, NL
    LekArt Festival, Shared Ground, Culemborg, NL
  • 2017 ZOALS JIJ EN IK (LIKE YOU AND ME), Art Chapel, Amsterdam, NL
    What’s New, Acquisitions, Museum Arnhem, Arnhem, NL
  • 2016 What We Have Overlooked, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, NL
    ROEMERS DRIELING (III),De Nieuwe Bibliotheek Almere, Almere, NL
    ROEMERS DRIELING (II), Bibliotheek Den Haag, The Hague, NL
    Roemers Drieling in Nieuwspoort, International Press Centre Nieuwspoort, The Hague, NL
  • 2015 Museumnacht 2015 – “Parallel Stories – The Whistleblower and the Dreamcatcher”, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, NL
    ROEMERS DRIELING, Centrum voor Beeldende Kunst, Amsterdam, NL
    The Usual Suspects (solo), Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, NL
    Art Amsterdam 2015, Galerie  Ron Mandos booth, Amsterdam, NL
    ‘Levenslang’, het criminele brein ontleed, museum Het Dolhuys, Haarlem, NL
    ZIJ WAS EENS… TETEM Kunstruimte, Enschede, NL
  • 2014 Don’t Support the Greedy (solo), Museum Arnhem, Arnhem, NL
    ‘Levenslang’, het criminele brein ontleed, museum Het Dolhuys, Haarlem, NL
  • 2013 Open Studio, Nordisk Kunstnarsenter Dalsåsen, Dale i Sunnfjord, Norway
    Amsterdam Drawing 2013, Stichting Nieuwe Dakota, Amsterdam, NL
    Jättekatastrof, Mitt Möllan, Malmö, Sweden
  • 2012 Open Studio, Nordisk Kunstnarsenter Dalsåsen, Dale, Norway
    Big Show 7, Silas Marder Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY, USA
  • 2011 PERFORMANCE (solo), Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, NL
    De Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prijs 2011, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, NL
    What’s New 2, Acquisitions, Museum Arnhem, Arnhem, NL
  • 2010 VOLTA6, Ron Mandos booth, Basel, Switzerland
    What’s New, Acquisitions, Museum Arnhem, Arnhem, NL
    Art Rotterdam, Ron Mandos booth, Rotterdam, NL
  • 2009 I Don’t Like Nostalgia Unless it’s Mine (solo), Galerie Ron Mandos, Rotterdam, NL
    Offspring, De Ateliers, Amsterdam, NL
    Koninklijke Prijs voor de Vrije Schilderkunst (Royal Awards for Painting) (1st Prize), Koninklijk Paleis, Amsterdam, NL
  • 2008 Test (solo), De Ateliers, Amsterdam, NL
  • 2007 Art In Mind, The Brick Lane Gallery, London, England
    Disposable Fetish, Bow Arts Trust, London, England
  • 2006 Memory & the Stream of Time, APT Gallery, London, England
    Final Exhibition, UEL MA Fine Art, London, England
    Student Show, UEL AVA, London, England
  • 2005Works On Paper, RK Burk Gallery, London, England
    End of year show, UEL AVA, London, England

Residencies & Awards

  • 2019 Nominee for Prix de Rome 2019
  • 2017 Development Budget, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, The Netherlands
  • 2016 Werkbijdrage Bewezen Talent, Mondriaan Fonds, The Netherlands
  • 2013 Mondriaan Fonds, (Investment project Artist) The Netherlands
    Nordic Kunstnarsenter Dalsåsen, Dale, Norway (residency)

  • 2012 Nordic Kunstnarsenter Dalsåsen, Dale, Norway (residency)
    Fonds BKVB, (Work Budget), The Netherlands
  • 2011 Fonds BKVB, (Work Budget), The Netherlands
  • 2010 Starter Stipendium, Fonds BKVB, NL
  • 2009 Koninklijke Prijs voor Vrije Schilderkunst, Amsterdam, NL


Selection of collections:
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL
Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam, Schiedam, NL
Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, NL
Museum Arnhem, Arnhem, NL,


Ekard Collection, Wassenaar, NL
AkzoNobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam, NL
Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, NL
The Brown Family Collection, The Hague, NL
21C Museum Collection, USA
Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, USA
Mana Contemporary, Chicago, USA
Alan Lo Art Collection, Hong Kong

Private collections in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Iceland, the United States, Belgium, South Africa and Switzerland


  • 2021 Feature and cover: WePresent Magazine ‘Best of 2020’
    Feature: Black Art Matters, Harper’s Baazar Germany, Winter February 2021
    Feature: Black Art Matters, Harper’s Bazaar Japan, Winter January 2020/2021 Online Link
  • 2020 Feature: Black Art Matters, Harper’s Bazaar NL, Autumn September 2020
    Feature: Esiri Erheriene-Essi, Casa Vogue Brasil, issue 419, Maria Clara Vieira, Summer 2020
    ‘Esiri Erheriene-Essi: A Most Present Future’, Juxtapoz Magazine, Spring 2020, Sasha Bogojev Online link

  • GLIMPSES: ‘Esiri Erheriene-Essi Is Repainting History in Technicolor’, Zócalo Public Square, by Jackie Mansky, October 14, 2020 Online link
    040: Esiri Erheriene-Essi is Moving Through Time – radio interview: Radio Juxtapoz interview link
    Nieuwe Stadsblad: ‘Stedelijk Museum Schiedam koopt werk van Esiri Erheriene-Essi en  Jenny Boot Schiedam purchase Link
    ‘Esiri Erheriene-Essi: Artists Inside The Industry’, ArtPlugged, Verity Babbs, July 4, 2020 ArtPlugged Link
    ‘The Women of Pier 94’, Arcade Project, Charlene Stevens, March 7, 2020 Online link
    ‘Esiri Erheriene-Essi: I want to bring these people back into technicolor’ WePresent, Wetransfer, March 2020 Online link
  • 2019 Prix de Rome 2019 catalogue, JapSam Books/Mondriaan Fonds, NL
    ‘Indian summer’, De Groene Amsterdammer, Roos van der Lint, October 30, 2019 Online link
    ‘Expositie: Inclusie en diversiteit hebben de wind mee in Prix de Rome’, Edo Dijksterhuis, Het Parool, October 20, 2019 Online link
    ‘Geëngageerd werk voor Prix de Rome vraagt aandacht voor het onderbelichte’, Thomas van Huut, NRC, October 21, 2019 Online link
    ‘Kanshebbers Prix de Rome 2019: Alledaagse zwarte familiekiekjes in verf’, Paola van de Velde, Telegraaf, October 21, 2019 Online link
    ‘De genomineerden voor de Prix de Rome zijn idealistisch, maar daarmee af en toe ook onbegrijpelijk’, Rutger Pontzen, De Volkskrant, October 29, 2019 Online link
    Prix de Rome 2019, Tableau Magazine, Jantine Kremer, October 28, 2019 Online link
    ‘Maximum Crisis Maximum Calm- Prix de Rome 2019’, Metropolis M, Issue no5 Oct-Nov 2019 Online link
  • 2018 ‘De nieuwe collectieopstelling van de AkzoNobel Art Foundation geeft een gepast antwoord op het doorgeslagen individualisme’, Rutger Pontzen, de Volkskrant, 11/05/2018, pg V15. Online link
    ‘Esiri Erheriene-Essi: Portraying the hidden elements of history’, Sasha Bogojev, Juxtapoz Magazine (feature), Jan 20 2018. Online link
    ‘De optimistisch lach valt uit de toon’, Kees Keijer, Het Parool, Jan 26 2018
  • 2017 ‘Meer ruimte voor art zuid in zuid’, Peter Roeffen, Inzuid, 06/01/2017. Online link
  • 2016 What We Have Overlooked, 08/02/2016 | FEATURE – Vincent van Velsen. Online link 
  • 2014 Don’t Support the Greedy’, authors: Marlene Dumas, Esiri Erheriene-Essi, Mirjam Westen and published by Museum Arnhem, ISBN 978-90-72861-52-8
    ‘Strange Fruit: Esiri Erheriene-Essi’, Koen Kleijn, De Groene Amsterdammer, nr. 25, 2014, p. 50, Online link 
    de Verdieping Trouw, NL,  23/09/2014, p. 4
    ‘Vooroordelen verpakt in felle kleuren’, Sandra Smets, NRC Handelsblad, 25 april 2014. Online link 
    ‘Studio visit: Esiri Erheriene-Essi’, Floor van Luijk, Metropolis M (online only), 2/09/2014, Online link
  • 2013 De Volkskrant newspaper NL, 19/09/2013, Kunst: Drawing Amsterdam, p 22
  • 2012 “Uitgelicht: Schilderkunst in Nederland: Generatie 2.0”, Braat, Manon, Kunstbeeld, nr. 5, 2012, p. 42
  • 2011 “Amsterdam”, Elephant: The Arts & Visual Culture Magazine, issue 8, Autumn 2011, p 184
    De Volkskrant newspaper, NL 18/02/2011, Online link 
  • 2010 “New Talent”, Blend, van der Does, Bieneke, issue 47, jan/feb 2010, p 102, NL
  • 2009 (Catalogus), Koninklijke Prijs voor Vrije Schilderkunst, 2009, p 14-17, NL
    Offspring 2009, Amsterdam, De Ateliers, p 33 – 40, NL
    ‘Signalement: Esiri Erheriene-Essi’, Spijkerman, Sandra, Kunstbeeld, nr. 12/1, pp 34-37


  • 2020 Garage Magazine, commission, issue 19, 2020, Inspired by Kenneth Ize’s Autumn 2020 collection Garage Online Link


  • 2020 Artist tutor, Painting and Printmaking department, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, NL
  • 2019 Guest teacher/tutor Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, NL
    Artist lecture/guest tutor, De Ateliers, 2019 (November 12)
    Artist tutor, Painting and Printmaking department, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, NL
  • 2018 Artist talk, The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, The Netherland
    Individual mentoring/tutoring 2nd year Fine Art Students from Minerva and Gerrit Rietveld Academies

  • 2017 Artist lecture, Read My World Festival 2017 “Black USA, Literature of the Resistance”, Tolhuistuin Amsterdam/Framer Framed, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • 2016 Artist talk, ‘Event: Farewell to the hermetic monoculture’, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Online link
  • 2015 Artist lecture/teaching, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK (February 2015)
  • 2014 ‘Marlene Dumas: The Power of Photography & The Power of Painting’, artist lecture, 23 Nov 2014, Teijin Auditorium, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL, Online link