Xavier Verhoest has lived in Nairobi since 2001. He works as an artist and an art curator.
Most of Xavier Verhoest’s pieces are inspired or directly made of photographs; they act as the compositional starting point of his practice. One could define his work as a relationship between a photographic source and its painterly transformation into a transformed or new subject.
These are images in formation, keeping the fluidity and the solidity, between fragility and strength, between quietude and inquietude; they are here to make us react. These images are not stable, they act like a memory opener, they are incidental appearance or reappearance of something we must have seen, and this is losing definition, an ever blurring exercise that tends to lure the viewer
Commenting on the arguable sad feel about his works, “My personal journey in Palestine, in war zones, in Kenya has forced me to create a displacement geographically and emotionally, there is a shift between what is real, remembered or imagined, going beyond the specifics of places and time, all this create fertile territory for me”.
The structure of the work is often very simple, maintaining often a clear division between a lower and upper section. Surfaces are worked layers upon layers. Sometimes you will find words or excerpts from poems he reads (A. o Adonis, Mahmoud Darwish, and Paul Celan), they act very often as an entry door for those who can decrypt them, these words very often are a starting point for a new work or later becomes the title of a work.
Xavier is the co-founder of Art2Be, an organisation aiming at bringing positive living and social changes in the society with the use of Art.
Art2be works with marginalized groups of adults and children to fight stigma and discrimination ( like People living with HIV, gays and lesbians, artists or people victims of violence) and uses various methods like Body mappings, Family art therapy sessions or Hero book.
Between 1992 and 2003, Xavier has been working as a non medical volunteer for Medecins Sans Frontieres in Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Sudan, Congo Brazzaville, Laos, Azebadjian and Palestine
He has been showing his work in France, Belgium and Kenya