Sirje Protsin-Petersen

Sirje Petersen

Sirje Petersen (Protsin) is a painter and art teacher. She started her artist career with figurative and abstract paintings in 1980s and has become one of the significant painters in Estonian art.

Petersen has held more than 62 personal exhibitions, including in last Dragon Gallery (2022), Haus Gallery (2021), Toompea Castle Art Hall- Parliament of the Republic of Estonia (2020), Pärnu City Gallery in Artists House (2019), University of Tartu The Institute of Social Studies (2018), Gallery Noorus, Tartu (2017), The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Bruxelles, Belgium (2011), Estonian Embassy in Belgium and Luxembourg, Brussels (2010), Dragon Gallery, Tallinn (2003 and 2009), Tartu Art House (2009), Gallery Becker Jyväskyla, Finland (1995), Tartu Art Hall (1994), in Stockholm, in Riga etc.

Her works belong to the art collections of the Tartu Art Museum, Museum of Tartu University, Estonian Art Fund, Supreme Court of Estonia, Tartu, The Museum of New Art in Pärnu, Lüneburg City Art Collection, Germany, IBL State Art gallery, Port-Louis, Mauritius and etc.
Private collections in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Lichtenstein, Germany, Italy, Republic of Kazakhstan, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Philippines and many other collections around the world.

Petersen is a member of Estonian Artists’ Association (Member of the Council), Estonian Painters’ Association and Tartu Artists’ Union. Since 2000 she is Associate Professor of Painting at Pallas University of Applied Sciences.

Kristjan Raud Prize nomination 2021
Konrad Mägi Annual Painting Prize nomination  2021, 2022

Estonian Artists Association Annual Exhibition Public Choice Award 2019

Artists statement

Society has entered a phase of collective hypnotized insanity – war, resistance, anguish, surrender, indifference…
How do we decide to shape the lives of ourselves and future generations, whether greedy and manipulative for ego purposes, or towards a society based on higher ethics, mutual respect and love.

I deal with topics that speak to the deepest layers of human nature. These paintings are metaphors for time, history and personal emotional experience.

Whatever it says to the viewer, it’s the right message because there isn’t such a thing as a wrong and a right message.

My process of work has always been grounded in pleasure and aesthetics and I am not a bit ashamed of it. This belief guides me towards creating compositions that invite and allow the viewer to investigate its surface, its purpose, and its inner feelings.

The past, the present and the future have been intertwined.

This is a spiritual, autobiographical memory where I perceive my subjective time.

The human body and color often help me visualize the thought, perception, questions – not knowing, if these will be answered.

To be outside time, to escape time’s requirements – where from? where to? where? – I feel the  curiosity and urge to exit myself, to express and share…

I am my own tempting research object. How not to drop myself or let myself be dissolved?

To accept myself the way I discover myself at a given moment.

Read full biography »


News- Awards and Exhibitions 01/06/2024

Kristjan Raud Prize nomination 2021
Konrad Mäe Painting Prize nomination 2022, 2021 and 2019
Estonian Artists Association Annual Exhibition Public Choice Award 2019

Flow of Light
Sirje Petersen
Draakon Gallery
July 25, 2022 open until August 19, 2022.

Light shows us colours.
What’s out comes in and what’s in gets out.
Openness and closeness.
Light helps us to see details
and light makes darkness go away.

Everyone has a place and a space in this world,
sometimes it is warm and cosy, sometimes cold and bleak.
Sometimes it is noisy, sometimes it is too silent.
Always changing – in light and in shadow.

No-one can grow in darkness.
It becomes possible in light.
Darkness may seem endless but a ray of light can always lit it up
and make everything alive.

There is no absolute reference system. Everything is relative, even the flow of time.”

Sirje Petersen

Exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.
Exhibitions in Draakon gallery are supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Ministry of Culture and Liviko Ltd.

Red Thread. Sirje Petersen
Haus Gallery 12.05.2021

Renowned artist Sirje Petersen primarily deals with human and humanity in her work. We can meet the reflections of a person’s inner world in her paintings, where figure and color play an important role as a means of expression. By purifying the painting of extra details and adding perceptible nuances from personal experience, she achieves a multidimensionality in her work, almost to the extent of abstraction.

This exhibition is presented with the support of:
Estonian National Culture Foundation 
Estonian Cultural Endowment for Fine and Applied Arts
Tartu Cultural Endowment
Pallas University of Applied Sciences

Older news »