Esteban Abdul Raheem Samayoa

Artadia Awardee

“Samayoa said that “the Bay Area is a great place to be an artist–we’re all weird and strange here, making our weird stuff. There is space to breathe here.” This sense of freedom—to create, discover, connect and experiment–was deeply felt in our visit with Samayoa. Throughout his varied material practice, Samayoa illustrates an impressive ability to embed both memory and fantasy in works that communicate to broad audiences.” jurors Ileana Tejada, Senior Manager, Fellowships and Programs, Headlands Center for the Arts and Laura Phipps, Associate Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art.

Esteban Abdul Raheem Samayoa (b.1994 Sacramento, CA) is a Mexican-Guatemalan artist currently based in Oakland, CA, whose work is deeply rooted in his cultural heritage and exploration of personal identity. His mastery of black and white charcoal drawings forms the cornerstone of his practice, where he portrays moments of nostalgia and intimacy that resonate profoundly within his community. Beyond charcoal, Samayoa explores vibrant color palettes and diverse mediums such as installations and ceramics, while incorporating textured surfaces such as burlap, plaster, and soil to honor his Guatemalan origins. 

Using artwork as a vehicle to not only serve as a reflection of his personal journey but also as a bridge for shared experiences and collective growth, Samayoa’s intention is to create art that fosters unity while celebrating the collective power of self-expression. Samayoa’s work has garnered national recognition and has been featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions. Notable recent group exhibitions include “A Scratch in the Paint” at Good Mother Gallery in Los Angeles and “Eighteen Painters” at Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York.