Esra Ersen studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Marmara University in Istanbul and completed a post-graduate program at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Nantes. In her research-based practice, she treats questions of history and historical perspectives and their reverberations over time in everyday culture, education, and cultural symbols. National identities and the mechanisms of their construction are recurring motifs in her work, in which she seeks to bridge the gap between oral tradition and collective memory, between micro-history and macro-history. She meets her chosen questions with a cheerful subversiveness to make the multi-layered, sometimes contradictory aspects of our social reality visible. She has participated in numerous exhibitions, including the 14th Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul (2015), the 277th São Paulo Biennale (2006), the 4th Liverpool Biennale (2006), the 4th Kwangju Biennale (2002), and Manifesta 4, Frankfurt am Main (2002). She has also received many prizes and grants, including the 2019–2020 Rome Prize of the Villa Massimo.
Ersa Ersen was a resident at Tarabya Culture Academy from September to November 2015.