• Ideas
  • Jul 24, 2020

Artstrology: Leo 2020, All-Conquering Passion

Illustration by Renee Li for

After more delays, interruptions, and general chaos created by the recent planetary retrogrades, Leo season is going to bring us some fuel to help us tackle our problems. Represented by the Sun, Leo is the warmest and most passionate of all the signs. It is fitting that the beginning of Leo season is the hottest time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and is tied with fantasies of summer romance. 

Blame me for being an Aries, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Leos. As another fire sign, Leo represents strength and charisma. People born under this sign express their emotions boldly and embrace intensity, as if they are living in a melodrama. Unsurprisingly, the world of theater and film is dominated by legendary Leos, such as the master director Alfred Hitchcock. Leo painters tend to combine elements of performance with painting—think Japanese Gutai artist Kazuo Shiraga, whose famed performance Challenging Mud (1955) involved using his entire body to carve into the wet ground. Shiraga’s action-paintings turned the canvas into his stage, as he suspended himself from the ceiling with rope and swirled in the air to paint with his feet. His red and black colors connote fire and passion, and the gestural strokes remind me of Leo’s way of life: to act as they will and make the most out of life. 

My Leo friends see themselves as the “dictators” in their creative realms, and often work independently on their projects. While Leos are often accused of being egocentric, they are concerned with broader issues of identity and keen to explore them through a variety of mediums. Leos can be drawn to poetry and music, since Apollo, the god of the Sun, rules these two fields, but they are especially good at photography, moving image, and painting. Martha Rosler, for instance, has interrogated different aspects of American culture and identity for decades, notably through photomontages themed around politicized mass media, consumerism, and female domesticity. In her seminal feminist work Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975), she stages a six-minute cookery show in which she goes through all the tools in the kitchen and assigns a letter of the English alphabet to each. At the end of the performance, she forms the last six letters using her own body, highlighting, in her words, “the transformation of the woman herself into a sign in a system of signs that represent a system of food production, a system of harnessed subjectivity.” 

By day, Leos are often the center of attention, radiating joy and laughter, but they may be troubled by bitter insomnia at night. Though they are natural leaders and appear to be (sometimes overly) confident, they are often trapped in feelings of inferiority. Transit Uranus might be causing devastation to their self-esteem, but is also forcing them to reflect on their ego and possibly to change directions in life. As we swim out of the deep emotional waters of Cancer season and enter the month of Leo, we will gradually regain our power and pay closer attention to our identities.

This article is written for entertainment purposes only.

Pamela Wong is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor.

To read more of ArtAsiaPacific’s articles, visit our Digital Library.

Back to Blog