by Leon Keer
Red trousers, blue shirt, always smiling, your best friend.
On the beach in Brighton, children try to stand him up to see how big he really is, at Topanga Beach, he is happily presented as a new member of the local surf club, and at Siesta Key, after attracting a great deal of attention, he is charged with being an obstruction and taken into custody for 90 days.
Ego Leonard is an art project initiated by the Dutch artist Leon Keer.
Since 2007, Ego has been putting in an appearance by washing up at various attractive locations all over the world.
The ever-smiling apparition evokes surprise and delight, but the unknown also makes people alert and uneasy.
The familiarity of this figure, based on a well-known toy, in any case makes many people curious.
Bearing the text ‘No Real Than You Are’ on his shirt, he evokes a paradoxical feeling. The question is whether man’s presence in this world is any more real than that of Ego Leonard?
In this world of discord and dissent, Ego Leonard turns up in all kinds of places. Whether your name is Gerard, Umdie or Mustafa, to Ego, everyone is equal. He feels at home anywhere and feels the same everywhere.
People don’t all need to agree or have the same beliefs or standards. A sense of freedom in solidarity arises if you can suspend or even let go of your judgements about others.
A better world can be crafted simply by allowing other people to be different. The paintings which are made in the name of Ego Leonard, in which he is always depicted with the same expression, therefore regularly focus on this connection. They deliberately make people aware of the beauty of their own environment and the fact that we can all feel like equals, anywhere in the world.