Esiri Erheriene-Essi Portraying The Hidden Elements Of History
Ron Mandos Gallery is currently showing the solo exhibition The Dogs Bark, But The Caravan Goes On by Esiri Erheriene-Essi, marking the long time collaboration with British-born artist. For this exhibition, she painted a series of medium and large format canvases based on individual and shared memories captured on photographs.
With these oil paintings, Erheriene-Essi is portraying regular people that moved across the globe in search for new life, amazed and captivated by the idea of what these people have seen when the photos were take. Intrigued by the silences and the hidden elements not seen or described in history books, she is trying to put accentuate on such elements through her works. The figures on the canvases feature individuals, families and groups of people that, in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, migrated from countries in West, Central and East Africa, Suriname, The Caribbean and Haiti, to Western countries, such as Britain, America, France or The Netherlands.
Depicted using heavily textured visual language with evident brush work and distinctive, over-saturated color palette, the images are evoking the excitement and anticipation that subjects were experiencing at the time. Repeatedly juxtaposing colorful fabric patterns against magazine cutouts and other paper collage elements, the now Amsterdam-based artist is emphasizing the tension and uncertainty that was present in those moments. It almost feels that the vigorous and heavily textured visual language is sort of a makeup for hiding the complex personal stories that took place just before and at the time these pictures were made. This body of work is following Erheriene-Essi's interest in history, especially images, objects, and documents which can form individual, more humane and liberating historical narratives. —All text and photography by Sasha Bogojev
The show is on view through February 17, 2018.