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Asemota’s The Ens Project loud in Lagos

By EDITOR 26 February 2015   |   11:00 pm

AT the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Yaba, Lagos, U.K-based artist, Leo Asemota was scheduled for  “Masterclass” to discuss the inspiration for his work, The Ens Project, and the relevance of his key materials such as coal, orhue (kaolin), palm oil and vellum that he uses in his drawings and sculptures. 

  Key point of the talk was the validity of the sites in which his performances have taken place in London, some of which include the British Museum, Tate Modern, St, Paul’s Cathedral and the National Portrait Gallery.

  Asemota has been working on The Ens Project since 2005. The project has as its foundation, the annual Igue rite of the Edo people of Benin, British history of invention, exploration and conquest in which the sacking of Benin is of particular interest, and the essay by the cultural philosopher, Walter Benjamin titled “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”

   Some of his works include Phase 1 “First Principles” (2005 – 2008) encompass photographs, sculptures, drawings and performances developed over six stages in appraisal of the project’s reference frame.  Phase 2 (2009 – 2012) relates the transfiguration of a character called “The Handmaiden” in anticipation of Phase 3 “Eo ipso” and the live artwork that will complete the project. Its prologue “Count Off for Eo ipso” was presented in the Tanks at Tate Modern in August 2012.

  Asemota was born in Benin City in Nigeria. His practice, Eo TLA is based in London where he studied and now lives.


Myriad-minded and topically attentive, Asemota’s practice is freeform and of a conceptual inclination, working always as he ought in a methodology befitting his interests. 

  The Cure Complete Works (2002) is a multimedia project constructed on the principle of many-valued logic of truth, falsity and the unknown.

   Drawn from significant periods in modern history, The Cure Complete Works is presented in three segments encompassing photographs, sculptures, drawings, artists’ books, postage stamps and a 33-minute film. 

  The first segment incorporates portraits, sculptures and drawings introducing characters in the second segment, a 33-minute film titled ‘Cult’.

  Presented entirely without sound, ‘Cult’ is a procession of imagery filled with scenes of beautification on a seated figure that also serves as the film’s object of devotion. 

  The third segment comprises new works derived from the film including a chromogenic print “FiTH Work No.23: The Cure” and casts in sugar.

  Local Heroes London & New York (2002) was a photographic project and exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (26 October 2002 – 30 March 2003) as part of the London String of Pearls Golden Jubilee Festival. 

   Asemota was invited to work with teenagers – Marvin Osemwegie, Melvin Jasper Lodge, Edmond Poru and Merrick Edwards – at From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation a Peckham based day-support centre for socially excluded young people, to produce a photographic portfolio of their local heroes. Their images as well as their workbooks and photo log sheets were displayed alongside portraits of fire fighters, volunteer workers and airline staff taken by photographer Jonas Karllson at Ground Zero in New York for a special Vanity Fair magazine supplement.

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