working and presenting in the areas of peace, education, socioeconomic justice, human rights and culture. Represented by Eseohe Arhebamen, who is also known as Edoheart, EdoHeart leverages Eseohe’s abilities in multimedia communications and business development for the purpose of furthering social change. Some of EdoHeart’s projects– Igodomigodo, for example– focus on the protection of cultural heritage. Other projects– such as her daily online word sculpture protesting the prison-industrial complex– initiate discussions on socioeconomic inequalities and human rights.
Bridging phenomenologies of educational pedagogy with theatre, EdoHeart provides workshops in the areas of language and movement. Under this banner, EdoHeart has provided language and arts instruction to economically disadvantaged children since 2001 and facilitated and/or taught adult workshops at institutions like Columbia University, Spelman College and The Living Theatre. EdoHeart also provides private classes as requested. Some of her students have been Michael Freeman, Douglas Allen, Laura Russello, Jorge Rojas, Rosamond S. King, Paunika Jones, Bryant Keller, and Wura Natasha Ogunji.
Moving forward, EdoHeart seeks strategic partnerships with likeminded individuals and organizations interested in a more peaceful, free and kind planet. The word “Edo” in the Edo language means, “Love”. It is this message of caring for one another that the EdoHeart brand most hopes to embody.
Born in Nigeria as Obehioye Eseohe Ikhianose Oghomwenyenmwen Cleopatra-Anne Arhebamen and commonly known as Eseohe Arhebamen-Yamasaki, Edoheart is a notable butoh artist and a royal descendant of the Ugu Kingdom of the Benin Empire of Nigeria. She claims the title of Princess, as given to her by her mother, Princess Osemwonyenmwen Aikheugiomo Rita Patience Izuagie Arhebamen, first granddaughter of the Oba n’Ugu Osazuwa Iredia; who in his lifetime also held the title of Enogie of Umoghumwun-Nokhua.
Since 1999, Edoheart has seriously worked in the mediums of
Common themes in her work are poetry, iconography, African identity and trance. Edoheart has appeared in newspapers, magazines, television and radio in South Korea, Japan, North America, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Nigeria. She has won several poetry awards and has also been awarded departmental awards from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and NYU – Tisch School of the Arts.
Edoheart’s butoh dance lineage is descended from study with Yukio Waguri and incorporates classical voice technique studies with Claudia Friedlander. In 2007, Edoheart undertook intensive collaborations with sound artist Toshio Bing Kajiwara and butoh artist Vangeline, premiering the second production of her Fire Butoh Series (Fire Butoh 2) at Grace Exhibition Space. In 2008, she toured extensively with the notable Estonian performance art group, Non Grata. It was in this time that Edoheart began to call her butoh style “Butoh-Vocal Theatre”.
Edoheart is the first African performer of butoh and also the originator of the style of butoh-vocal theatre, which integrates singing, talking and experimental vocalizations with butoh. She has, for example, included Hula, American Sign Language and Bharatanatyam in her butoh-vocal theatre dance work. Edoheart is the first artist to use the term, “butoh-voice”.
In addition to two Bachelor’s degrees, Edoheart holds a Master’s degree in Performance Studies (an interdisciplinary studies in Critical Theory, Sociology, Language Theory, Anthropology and Legal Studies). She has published two books of poems, and released several musical collections and video-artworks. Her more classical works in visual art revolve around incarnations of the Edo color language, invented personalities, and concern the fetishization of objects and experiences; featuring, at times, repeating symbols drawn from various African writing systems juxtaposed with romanized English writing system and surreal images of simplified, expressive faces and body-parts she considers “ghosts” and “spirits”. This description also applies sonically to Edoheart’s music.
Edoheart’s ultimate desire is to radically expand the acknowledgement of African arts beyond the category of “traditional”.