Shani Leseman

All of my works derive from the urgency to make, to create.

My wish is to, through them, to honor, to remember, to capture and to better understand.

The base is drawing - I further develop quick, intuitive sketchbook drawings into paintings on canvas, paintings with glaze on ceramic tablets, sculptures and/or videos. All made in the same handwriting, they form a collection together.

This collection of works is presented in the form of an installation where the works go on a dialogue with
each other.

In my work I'm exploring the wish but inability of human kind to grasp things bigger than us - the works are based on my personal experiences but have bigger underlying themes as rituals, spiritual energy, magic, symbolic language and the relationship between human and animal.

Lately I've been developing my personal approach to looking at making at art,which I now call the ritual of art. Here, all the works are made by the guidelines of the following keywordsfunction, belief, communication and function. Hereby, I focus on the similarities between (ancient) rituals and my personal approach to art.


2014 - 2018

Bachelor Royal Academy of Art, The Hague

2012 - 2013

Preperatory year Royal Academy of Art, The Hague


Exchange semester at Listahaskoli Islands, Reykjavik, Iceland


In my thesis, I research the relation between ritual and art. I dissect and analyze the concept of ritual to get a better understanding of it, and thereby a better insight of its components and remains to be seen in contemporary art. This thesis turned out to be a selection of 4 keywords: action, belief, communication, and function, which I found reoccurring in descriptions of ritual, using them as guidelines to formulate an approach to making and looking at art. In this approach,  which I called 'The Ritual of Art', I am metaphorically experiencing making and looking at art as a ritual.

Shani Leseman (1996)


The Hague, The Netherlands


‘A good work will work’, Nieuwe Vide, Haarlem

Graduation Festival, Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague, The Netherlands


‘The thing must fit under the seat in front of you’, RÝMD, Reykjavik, Iceland in collaboration with Nikki Selser and Brigitte Louter

‘Nokia’s Tagline’, MOOOF, The Hague, The Netherlands, curated by Samiha Awad

‘Get Serious!’, Oslo National Academy of Arts, Oslo, Norway, curated by Erla Audunsdottir

‘Mother’s Garage’, various locations, Reykjavik, Iceland


Opera ‘The Shark's Pretty Teeth’,  De Nieuwe Vide, Haarlem, The Netherlands

‘Walk this way please sir/madam’, Gallery P, Vilnius, Lithuania in collaboration with Saulė Noreikaitė 

Video screening, Kavinė Kultūra, Kaunas, Lithuania in collaboration with Saulė Noreikaitė and Hanna Iljas

‘All the ages have been’, online/offline exhibition curated by Kaitlyn Walker-Stewart


Grafische Werkplaats, The Hague, The Netherlands

(MANIFESTO) or how to activate a fanzine”, TENT, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Research” screening and live performances, Stroom, The Hague, The Netherlands