Xenia


Artist 1: Katie Whitfield
Artist 2: Marion Roberts
Artist 3: Yvonne Deegan
Artist 4: Jen Fenner

Embossed Screen Print, laser cut acrylic, mixed textile media, paper

Xenia is the Greek word for the concept of hospitality; of receiving and welcoming someone into your home, either friend or stranger. Hospitality, in this sense, repeatedly plays a major role in the story telling of ancient Greek and Roman poets, both as a setting for the narrative and as a theme for the tales themselves. The tale printed here is taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses series which lies on the boundary between Greek and Roman mythology. It depicts the Roman Gods Jupiter and Mercury disguising themselves as beggars and judging their worshippers on the level of hospitality they convey. Turned away from every door they eventually find Baucis and Philemon, an elderly couple who lavish the Gods with a feast and, in doing so, are rewarded for their generosity. The preparation of the living space as well as the offering of food and drink is a direct parallel to the customs and rituals of domestic hospitality practised today.

The work is framed in Perspex showing a traditional image of Mercury. To partner this is a textile and mixed media piece made as a reciprocal gift from a guest to the hostess depicted in the other works from this group. It encapsulates the end of the story, when Baucis and Philemon are granted their wish by the Gods and are transformed into intertwining trees before they die. A Linden and Oak tree grow up from one trunk and embroidered white flowers state a message of thanks in Greek, representing the myth that people came from far and wide leaving wreaths of white flowers on the branches of the couple. Hanging from the frame are objects described within the story, created from experimental prints based on the original work. The objects, such as apples, dates, figs and a goose, are connected to the gift of the hostess which is symbolic of the death of the guests, completing the story’s imagery.

The photographs show the different elements of the piece, however, it will not be assembled until the exhibition begins.

Artist: Katie Whitfield

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