The Empresses

HENI is delighted to present The Empresses by Damien Hirst, a series of five glorious prints depicting carefully composed images of butterflies, published by HENI Editions. The prints were available to purchase on HENI from 28th January 2022 until Friday 4th February 2022. The final number of editions produced was limited by demand during this time period.

Collectors were able to either purchase the physical prints directly, or to delay receipt of the print for up to 3 years by purchasing a “HENI Editions NFT Deed”. This new category of HENI NFT allows collectors to redeem their NFT for the physical artwork at a later date, and also to pass on their entitlement to the print through trading the NFT, thus giving a maximum of flexibility to collectors.

The striking Empresses prints are constructed of beautiful images of red butterfly wings, which are intricately arranged with a filigree of red glitter to produce visually intoxicating kaleidoscope-like effects. The prints are named after five exceptionally influential female rulers: Wu Zetian, Nūr Jahān, Theodora, Suiko and Taytu Betul. Their characters and stories are enhanced by the dominant red tone of the series, which deals with themes such as life, war, power, anger, love, joy and luck.

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst is a British artist whose name has become synonymous with contemporary art. Since his generative work as a student at Goldsmiths School of Art, Hirst’s production has been boundary redefining in nature. Working primarily in installation, painting, sculpture and drawing, Hirst explores the complex relationships between art, beauty, religion, science, life and death. He constantly returns to his foundational interests and themes, which he reworks to develop an innovative visual language.

The Editions

Since the beginning of his career Hirst has interacted with the butterfly, one of his best-known motifs. Inspired by a chance encounter in his studio and the intricate patterns found on Victorian tea trays, in The Empresses Hirst develops on the complex compositions he invented in his Kaleidoscope Paintings and Mandalas series.

The Empresses prints are symmetrical, asymmetrical, and spiral patterns of meticulously organised butterflies that nonetheless exude hope and life – the butterflies feel as if they are taking flight. This effect is in part aided by the material, laminated Giclée print on aluminium composite, screen printed with glitter, which allows the butterfly wings to be presented in such detail that they appear lifelike.

The images of wings inspire awe and are framed by glitter, a fantastically tactile material previously used by Hirst in his paintings. Glitter is loved for its playfulness and joy – a sentiment echoed in the play-on-words of the series title itself, which alludes to both female rulers and the Empress Butterfly.

Hirst has consistently used butterflies for their associations to freedom, religion, life and death. The Empresses illuminates and sheds light on these themes. Through this new series, these themes become intertwined with glory, female power and the development of nations, visible through the entrancing twists and turns of these five dazzling and vital visual celebrations.


Collectors were able to either purchase the physical prints directly, or to delay receipt of the print for up to 3 years by purchasing a “HENI Editions NFT Deed”. You can pass on your entitlement to the print through trading the NFT thus giving a maximum of flexibility to collectors. We are happy to be at the forefront of providing innovative ways to collect, enjoy and trade art.

The HENI Editions NFT Deed is a new category of NFTs offered by HENI, which are different to NFT drops by artists. These are utility NFTs provided by HENI which serve the specific purpose of delaying receipt of the physical and enabling ease of trading. There are no additional utilities or perks associated with this type of NFT.

The collection is on the Palm blockchain, a token-powered ecosystem for NFTs which has a two-way bridge to Ethereum, and features low gas costs, fast transaction finality, and 99% more energy efficiency than proof of work systems.