Xeno- (with a dash, used as a prefix) is an itinerant artistic platform and a research laboratory on intersectional feminism. It was born from the observation that these artists are underrepresented in exhibitions and cultural programs, an absence that highlights the reality of gender and racial domination relationships. As a result, Xeno- supports, promotes and raises the profile of these emerging national and international artists, with a particular focus on intersectionality. The main forms of action are the production of cultural and artistic events: exhibitions, conferences and workshops. Xeno- favours artists who demonstrate commitment in their creative processes, question the normative aspects of society, push their limits by initiating dialogue and reflection. Xeno- was founded by Tunisian artist Ichraf Nasri in Brussels in 2020.

Who’s involved in it?

The team is mobile. Each project is different. I would say there are 5 permanent women artists and a few others involved.

What’s your origin story and your motivation?

When I arrived at La Cambre school I found myself in a field still reserved for a bourgeois, male, white and mostly cis heterosexual elite where whiteness is valorizing and universal. I couldn't identify with them. I found myself in the institution that has the vocation to produce knowledge but also naturalize this knowledge. In the history of art as I had studied it, I did not see racialized artists. On the other hand I saw paintings or photography of these women represented by white men. This representation remains on 2 axes either servant/dominated or sexualized/eroticized. I understood that we exist only in connection with the "center", Europe which does not want to let go of this symbolic privilege and epistemic hegemony. It seemed to me that finding a fair place in the art world with its complex arrangements was impossible and that I had to create another one on my own scale. So I thought of a microcosm that would be based on a healthier ecology of artistic practices. It was my solution to exist, I could not live in autarky. I could not live alone in this hostile territory. Activist artists joined me from the creation and believed in the project as Melanie Peduzzi, Marie Diaby, Sophie Hustinxs, Aurore Morillon, Aisha Snoussi etc.

What are some of your favorite spots in Brussels?

Palais de justice, Café Congo, Mothers and Daughters, a lesbian & trans bar*

Where can we find you virtually and/or physically?


Xeno-, 2021

*based on queer archives