Esiri Erheriene Essi wearing a striped tshirt

Esiri Erheriene-Essi

History paintings of unheard stories.

“I'm just really interested in a lot of these silent, quiet histories.”

Esiri Erheriene-Essi is a figurative painter who depicts quiet histories of Black life. She paints from a wide collection of photographs, predominantly from the 1960s and 70s – sourced online, at flea markets and occasionally from her family archives. Erheriene-Essi begins by sketching on her computer, editing the source image and creating a sort of digital collage which is later sketched up on th...

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Esiri Erheriene-Essi was born in London, England, in 1982, and now lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.


In 2016 Dutch painter Ronald Ophuis nominated Erheriene-Essi for the Prix de Rome award hosted at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. When selected, she had to adjust her usual working processes to make an entire new body of work in 5 months – all while parenting a newborn.


In 2007 Erheriene-Essi moved from London to Amsterdam, which had a significant impact on her practice. It was at this point that she started using photographs as references to create the works, seeing her paintings expand to include full body figures.

Collaborations with Esiri Erheriene-Essi