Upcoming: Esiri Erheriene-Essi and Zanele Muholi in conversation
RM Sunday Session
In conversation with…
Esiri Erheriene-Essi and Zanele Muholi
Moderated by Azu Nwagbogu (Guest curator Galerie Ron Mandos)
Spoken language: English
Date: Sunday March 21
Time: 4:00 – 5:00 PM (CET)
We are delighted to invite you to join us for a special RM Sunday Session with Esiri Erheriene-Essi and Zanele Muholi. During a zoom webinar, the two artists will speak about the role of portraiture in shaping history. Esiri Erheriene-Essi is currently showing new works in her solo exhibtion I am here because you were there at the gallery. Zanele Muholi is a South-African artist, photographer and visual activist, who’s showing new works at Stevenson Gallery in Amsterdam. The panel talk will be moderated by curator Azu Nwagbogu and will be in English.
For those unable to join the zoom webinar, we will share the conversation afterwards on our Instagram TV. Follow us on Instagram here.
ABOUT Esiri Erheriene-Essi
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.