Leo Asemota is a Nigerian born artist with a continuing history of projects internationally. His work encompasses an open range of expressions that include films, photography, sculptures, drawings and performance. He is now based in London where he has established his practice within EOTLA, a modest complex north of the city with his studios, project space and publishing enterprise.
Leo was in residence at the Metal House in Liverpool to advance his longstanding work “The Ens Project” and to evolve his ideas on the origins of a character called “The Handmaiden”, the main performer in the final stage of “the Ens Project”, and a central creation of the project’s completion.
His journey to Liverpool, and in particular Edge Hill Station, was inspired by his use of coal as a drawing device and a symbolic material throughout ‘The Ens Project’. Coal was a principal resource of the industrial revolution and integral to the development of Edge Hill and the wider rail network. Leo partners this black substance with orhue (Kaolin), a white chalky substance used in the rituals of the Edo people of Benin, to connect up his interests in colonialism and the 1897 British capture of the once great Kingdom of Benin.
THE HANDMAIDEN: Incorporating fragments and found objects recovered from the renovation project at Edge Hill station during his residency with influences from the project’s first phase developed in response to his experience in Liverpool, The Handmaiden was an installation for Edge Hill Station to mark the second phase of the project. Contained in four vitrines and governed by three drawings on vellum with lead, coal, orhue (kaolin), palm oil and beeswax, the creations unravel from myth, folklore and contemporary history, the origins of “The Handmaiden”, a being central to the completion of “The Ens Project”
The exhibition opened on 25th February and ran until 20th March 2010