The Heroine’s Journey of Jonida Xherri

What is the best thing that I love about my work? My work is what I love the most, it’s my foundation in life, and I make many sacrifices for it. I express myself through my work: my ideas and my ideals of life and humanity. This is a job that helps to reflect and look within oneself, it helps myself and everyone around me. What I’m describing is my artistic work, but throughout my life
I have done many jobs to support my art studies and to be able to sponsor my artistic projects. For 2 years I have been focusing only on my artistic work.

What is my idea of happiness? I think that happiness comes from awareness of what we want to become. Once you start working actively to achieve our life’s purposes, you begin to find happiness
in yourself and what you do. Anyway, I think it’s normal to have more than one dream to seek happiness. And every time we manage to make our dreams come true, there’s always another one
ready to come out of the drawer.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Both positive and negative things happen in life, but the thing I deplore the most is that I always blame myself too much. I am working hard to learn to forgive myself. Knowing how to forgive yourself is essential for loving you every day.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? The people I admire most, both in my profession and in any other, are people who work honestly putting respect for themselves and others first.

What is my greatest extravagance? I think I have nothing extravagant, but maybe I do, and I have yet to find out.

On what occasion would I lie? I am not able to lie, but I don’t know if it is a quality or a fault. For a long time, I have tried to lie, because you know… You can’t always tell the whole truth. But every
time I tried, anyone, even those who had never seen me before, easily understood that I was trying to hide the truth. So, in the end I decided not to try to lie anymore and always say what I think. And if that makes me lose friends, I’ll only lose fake ones.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? In my work as an artist I always seek contact with people to share my thoughts on social issues, on reception, immigration etc. Often this leads me to talks with racist people and it saddens me a lot. We should have learned from history that racism and discrimination never brought anything good, either personally or collectively. And unfortunately, I have not seen this discrimination only towards others, but I also suffered it on my skin for being an Albanian immigrant in Italy.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? My work makes me so happy that I couldn’t live without it.

If I could, what would I change about myself? If we think back to our past there is always something we would have liked to do differently, some regrets. But whatever we have experienced in our life, now is part of us. It has made us who we are, it has formed us for what we have faced, and it continues to prepare us for what is to come. For this reason, I would not change anything about myself.

What is my greatest achievement in work? The greatest satisfaction is when during one of my workshops, lasting friendships are created between participants. Sure, it doesn’t always happen, but when it does it’s what makes me happiest.

Where would I most like to live? I always loved every place I lived. There are places where I lived for a day, a week, a month, a year… The most beautiful thing is that each place has given me so much
and I would return to live anywhere of those places. But at the same time, I am always ready to leave to discover new places. I love this about me: I feel connected to every place where I lived but at the same time I feel free to leave them and return continuously.

What is my most treasured possession? My most precious asset is my trust in people. I think people have an inner beauty that they need to share with the world: we are human people and we all make mistakes, but it is important to be surrounded by people who believe in us and give us the opportunity to share our beauty with them. Of course, there are also bad people. I prefer to keep my distance from them.

What is my most marked characteristic? My best feature is to believe in myself in what I do and never give up. Whatever happens, there is always something to learn. I always try to do it, especially from my mistakes and my falls. By giving myself time to recover, I always find the strength to get up and continue sharing my ideas with others.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? My cities are many: there’s my hometown, all the cities where I lived and the city where I live now. But the strongest bond I’ve always had with every place is the sea. The sound and the scent of the sea give me serenity and inner harmony that I can’t find anywhere else. For this reason, in all cities I’m always looking for the sea (or the river / lake if there is no sea). Wherever the water flows is always my favorite place.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Nourishment is a sacred for me. Where you eat or drink is not important to me, because my favorite place is always where I can share this moment with important people. The people who matter to me are those who can appreciate human beings.

What books influenced my life and how? I love reading, each book is a window on the world. Every book, like every person you meet, tells you a story that enriches you. Every book has influenced me
profoundly and has given me so much.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? The sounds of nature are always my favorite music.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? I think that a hero in real life are those who believe in themselves, those who respect the place where they live and people from all over the world, those who believe in justice and are committed to being honest with everyone, those who love and don’t spread hate, those who respect and do not discriminate, those who value people and not things. I admire, respect and appreciate infinitely people who during their life strive to remain in the hearts of others.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? I recommend seeing films or documentaries that show the world, tell people’s stories and what really happened or is happening in the world. Thus, through knowledge, we can fight the false news that the media and the wrong politics often transmit to us.

What role plays art in my life and work? Being an artist, art is not just a role, but it is the protagonist of my work and of my own life.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me? Each of us is the narrator of himself and his existence. I think it’s very important to knowing and loving yourself in order to be the best storyteller and for you and your loved ones.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? The most important part of my work and my life is the exchange with people: their stories become precious sources for my artistic life.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2021? Every project I’ve done has made a difference in my life. Each experience gives you something new, the important is to be ready to welcome this richness. I think my creative career is more linked to what it transmits to me emotionally so I couldn’t make any difference between the various projects. Each time it’s an immersion in a new world and each project leaves me with memories that are made by people. I can mention with pleasure the current collaborations: “Intrecci d’Oro” an art residency project that I have doing (September 2020) at the Ecomuseo del Grano e del Pane in Salemi with the organization of the Orestiadi Foundation of Gibellina; the “Intertwined Tales” project that I have doing in October 2020 in San Sperate, Sardegna for Officin & ideals – residences in transit; two of my traveling projects “Perle di Accoglienza” and “O Italia o grande stivale non cacciarmi di nuovo a pedate” that I have presented in Lampedusa in September 2020.

What project, in 2021, am I looking forward to work on? During the lockdown I started a new project that highlights that there is no beginning or end of immigration, because migration is displacement and movement that we cannot stop. The world is a place of encounters, but borders we created affect the weakest. The 2020 pandemic has crossed all borders of the world, making us remember that they are inventions. Unfortunately, however, the difference / indifference between people doesn’t cease to exist. While we stayed at home, nature continued its life. That’s why I decided to work on flowers: each flower includes a seed and a root born in one country and transported and planted in many other countries. Flowers animate a universal language that
simply reflects migration in all its nuances, creating generational knowledge and representing an opening to the future, freeing us from prejudice. A “beautiful” work, because beauty increases the desire to learn and understand. The final work will be a labyrinth of 10X10 meters and will be exhibited in various squares but also in schools around the world, where I will carry out educational
workshops to teach children the history of immigration and the beauty of plants. If any teacher is interested to attend a workshop with their students, they can contact me directly.

Where can you see my work in 2021? Currently I have three Facebook pages and I’ll soon have my website.
https://m.facebook.com/Radici-fuori-Confine-Rrënjë-përtej-Kufijve-105614934477869/?
tsid=0.9391408759331914&source=result

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? I think that putting passion and love into everything we do is the perfect ingredient to do things right. Without passion all desires are easily extinguished, but with passion even the most imaginable dreams can be achieved.

How can you contact me?
Jonida Xherri
lisabobi@hotmail.it

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