- Juxtapoz Magazine
What a difference a week makes? Or in some cases, an hour makes. At the beginning of March, on a quiet Friday morning before the doors opened at Pier 90 for the Armory Show in NYC, we sat down with London-born, Amsterdam-based painter Esiri Erheriene-Essi. She had a new series of paintings in the Galerie Ron Mandos booth, her feature in Juxtapoz’s Spring 2020 quarterly was just released and she was fresh off a stunning show at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Things were supposed to be well, a joyous moment in the emerging artists career. And yet, on the horizon, and we could feel it especially that morning, the Coronavirus was going to be an era-defining, global narrative that could alter the way we looked at history and the future.
In many ways, that made speaking with Esiri so vital. Her work is about a reexamination of a collective history, literally building a vast collection of archival and found photography to reimagine as a vibrant figurative painting. There is a beautiful observation in Esiri’s bio: “She is interested a great deal by history – in particularly images, objects, and documents which we can return to, in order to examine both individual and shared memories and histories. She doesn’t look at history as something that refers only to the past, on the contrary, she sees history as a great and forcible power that we all unconsciously carry within us, are controlled by in many ways and are present in all that we do.” Little did we know a few months ago, but work that felt so relevant and powerful is now even more essential.
Our 3-part series live from the Armory Show sees Radio Juxtapoz speaking with Esiri about growing up in London, what it was like to have Nigerian roots in such a diverse city, her move to Amsterdam, how she collects found photography and what being a mother has meant to her schedule as one of the most important emerging figurative painters in the world today.
The Radio Juxtapoz podcast is hosted by FIFTH WALL TV’s Doug Gillen and Juxtapoz editor, Evan Pricco. Episode 040 was recorded live in New York City at Pier 90, March 6, 2020. Thank you to The Armory Show for the support.