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A black and white transparent image of a woman's face. She looks like she is in pain or struggling. Behind this close up image is another image of a woman looking directly at the camera.

Ufuoma Essi, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2019, (film still). Courtesy the artist.

In 2021 the SLG celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Postgraduate Residency. Video artist and filmmaker Ufuoma Essi is the tenth recipient.

From Lewisham, south east London, Essi works predominantly with film and moving image as well as photography and sound. Her work revolves around Black feminist epistemology and the configuration of displaced histories. The archive forms an essential medium for her as an artist and it is through explorations of the archive that she aims to interrogate and disrupt the silences and gaps of the historical narrative.


Ufuoma Essi (b. 1995, London) is a video artist, filmmaker and film programmer from Lewisham, south east London. Essi studied at University College London, 2014–2018 and the University of Pennsylvania, 2016–2017.

Previous exhibitions and screenings include Barbican Centre, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Croydon Art Store, London; Black Star Film Festival, Philadelphia; South London Gallery; and Chisenhale Studios, London. Essi has been selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2020, and Syllabus VI (2020–21) a collaboratively produced alternative learning programme that supports ten artists across ten months. Forthcoming presentations include the culmination of a short digital residency with the Black Cultural Archives, curated by Languid Hands (Rabz Lansiquot and Imani Robinson).


The South London Gallery Postgraduate Residency is an open submission six-month live-in residency that provides an early-career artist with a rare opportunity to produce a new body of work, which is then exhibited at the SLG. The residency is open to artists who have completed a BA, and have undertaken a period of self-directed, peer-led or postgraduate study in the year prior to the residency. This can include alternative, peer organised and non-accredited programmes from an institution, collective or art school in the UK as well as an MA, MFA, PGDip, MRes.

The residency includes rent-free accommodation, a studio space, a £6,000 bursary to produce new work and help support living expenses, mentoring and a solo exhibition in one of the SLG Fire Station galleries.

The Postgraduate Residency is supported by the Paul and Louise Cooke Endowment.

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