I learned to say 'no' to people

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The May/June issue gives way to a new 20-something list, featuring visual artists, photographers, art collectives, dancers, musicians and much more. Twenty people who are a representation of young society in Belgium, a generation ready to rule our world. Let us introduce you to the faces you didn’t realise you wanted to meet!

Joshua Serafin  

multidisciplinary artist, Brussels / Manila, 25  

Photos by Ansper Aquino, Ishimwe Lyse, Isaie Humblet & Luke Casey

How would you describe what you do?

My work revolves mainly around performance and choreography but I have always considered myself as a multidisciplinary artist. I studied contemporary dance in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Brussels, and I’m now taking a master’s in Visual Arts at KASK. Now, my work is focused on creating performance and materializing objects based on performance practice. It also revolves around topics of identity, decolonization of the body, queer politics, embodiment and representation, states of being, ways of inhibiting the body, the duality of the physical form, and also its overall representation. All of this translates in the body, and ultimately it becomes a practice that is situated in spaces.

What are you currently busy with?

I’m fortunate that despite the pandemic, it has been my busiest year in terms of work. I’m currently working with different artists who are based in Asia and Europe. I also teach dance with Ballet Philippines, preparing a group exhibition, and finishing a master’s in Visual Arts at KASK. At the same time, I’m developing a piece that is in its research phase called Cosmological Gangbang. But what kept me busy the most this year is my first solo work called Miss, which is a one-hour performance based on Philippine Queer Beauty Pageants. I hope to premiere this in Vooruit when theatres open again. 

Anything planned for the future?

Focus on creating new works, and perform all works that have been postponed. I would like to go home to the Philippines and learn how to surf. 

Nickname(s) people have given you?

Josh, Dodo, Joshiwoshi, Princess.

Latest déjà vu?

The most recent one would be a situation where I was performing and meeting new people in Madrid, dreamt about it a year ago.

Any new habits?

Waking up early and reading intensively.

What’s your daily routine like?

I don’t really have a set routine, it all depends on the project that I do but in normal circumstances: wake up; have my breakfast; workout – usually running and yoga; shower; then start working from noon till night. 

Weirdest dream you’ve had?

Dreams are really important for me, never really considered them weird. I have a habit of writing them down immediately after waking up. I believe they are messages from the universe, it has predicted certain events in my life such as moving to another city, relationships, projects, and even death. 

What artists are you listening to?

I have a wide taste in music, ranging from techno to pop to classical music. But recently I’ve been really into Kali Uchis, Jorga Smith, Joji, Doja Cat, and Bicep.

Favourite memory?

The memory of my family when we were all complete in my hometown. 

Favourite emoji?


Cutest desire you have?

To take out the heteronormative ideal in society, and also have a pet rabbit.

Love of your life?

My mother and my work.

Biggest personal change since last year?

Learned to say no to people. I’ve also started to learn how to keep my own integrity, values, morality and not to compromise myself and my identity to others.

How did last year change your perspective?

I was in the Philippines when the first lockdown happened. I was stranded there for ten months. I was lucky to be with my family during that period. It was the longest period spent with them since leaving home when I was 12 and started living abroad. It made me realize many things, such as understanding what family means, finding my center, and grounding myself in the motherland, and also learned to take things more easily, and only control what I can. We live in uncertain and harsh situations, we just need to be kind to ourselves and to others. But also be intelligent with it. 

Are you a nostalgic person?  

Yes, definitely.


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