Tell us a little bit about yourself and your body of work.
My name is Xenia, a greek name which roughly means 'kindness to strangers because they might be gods/goddesses.' I once owned a brick and mortar shop and had a career as a fashion writer and shoe buyer, but after a series of synchronicities and some serious self-inquiry, I now call myself a multidimensional artist and space holder.
So much of my work is about undoing the limiting intellectual frameworks that we are taught to fit ourselves into and to create spaces and experiences for us to discover more of who we really are, which I believe is mystical, sensitive and compassionate.
Right now a big part of my work is reading human design charts, but I also write and teach workshops on whatever I am learning that helps me see things in new and freeing ways. (A few months ago I did a class on the inbuilt subjectivity of spoken languages). The throughline in all of my work is reimagining how we experience the world, through a compassionate and multidimensional lens. I feel like all of humanity is going through a transformation and facing the parts of our culture, systems and psyche that are toxic and inhumane so we can create a world that reflects our true nature, which is generosity, creativity and transformation.
What is your origin story? Where and how you grew up, and how that influenced the work that you do today.
I was born in the Philippines but had to come to the US when I was 2 because my mother's family was fleeing martial law. I don't remember much about the Philippines but I am sure being ripped from my homeland and going on an 18 hour long flight at that age stays with me. Legend has it I screamed my head off the whole way here.
I was raised in North Jersey and the suburbs of Philadelphia, or as I like to say, I grew up in the mall. I am the eldest of three sisters and I learned to take responsibility for others at a really early age, and I am only learning now at 38 how to be more responsible for myself and less responsible for what is not mine.
My nuclear family is Roman Catholic so there was a sort of love of prayer, mysticism, symbolism and singing in my upbringing. Although colonization tore my lineage from its indigenous roots I did some digging and most indigenous Philippine tribes believed in some form of animism: which is essentially a belief that everything is alive and has a spirit, and I am super into that idea. It’s like the ancient version of quantum physics which says, everything is energy mixed with an intimacy with nature.
What I take from my background is a love of informality, a deep understanding that social norms are highly negotiable, and that “going to church” is really about getting together and being moved by what is essentially creativity (the singing, the incense, the stained glass) and the energy of people trying to process loss, grief and wanting to be close to god, or the universe or whatever you want to call it is really powerful and palpable. Also, there is a sort of inborn sense of humor in most Philippine culture, a tendency towards friendliness, helpfulness and humility that I really love. Oh and so much singing! A deep love of singing. So in short, mysticism, creativity and trying not to take myself too seriously.