Sislej Xhafa, Sweat Tree (2016)
Sislej Xhafa, Sweat Tree (2016)
Sislej Xhafa, Sweat Tree (2016)

Social inclusion is the aspiration, one hand over the other, the effort and sweat of everyone. The totem-like sculpture of Sislej Xhafa, Sweat Tree makes us think to the Kelutral, the tree of souls seen from the eyes of Zygmunt Bauman. Can shared space be the basic condition to restore dignity to the individual? Installed in the area of the ancient monumental fountains, the Meta Augustea and the Meta Sudans, at the shade of the Arch of Constantine and under the serious gaze of the Flavian Amphitheater, the post-modern fountain talks about intercultural, economic, political, social and sexual inclusion. A monument to the future of a society that is on the crossroad of complex and painful choices, water that flows through the hands is the emotional fluid of the social body. How many few decades separate us from the day in which water will be worth more than oil? What social ethics is outlined without solidarity? How to confront with a sustainable development without self-destructing? Cyclical and cosmic time merge, ἀρχἡ (archè) necessary to life on this little planet and its creatures in full osmosis with the human’s identity dimension: control of fresh water is radically redefining the geopolitics of entire continents and the future for billions of people. 

Sweat tree, the tree of solidarity, of life, of sharing, of hope, installed on the pomerio of the Meta Augustea, one of the most sacred spaces of ancient Rome, is to symbolize a new beginning for humanity. 

The MAXXI Museum of Rome, Via Guido Reni 4, is presenting the personal exhibition by Sislej Xhafa curated by Hou Hanru from the title Benvenuto! 

Keywords: Meta Sudans and Meta Augustea

Conceived within the construction programme of Domitian, the Meta Sudans is the largest fountain of the Flavian Age. From 1989 to 2003, the excavation of professor Clementina Panella, a delicate and inclusive task for over 80/120 students per year was to accurately report the stratigraphic view of the great didactic site, brings back to light the great Flavian monument. Thanks to the numismatic documentation it was possible to establish that the large circular basin was of 16m in diameter, it included a brick rising of 18 m in height and had a sphere or three-petal flower at its top. Yet the most extraordinary discovery was the Meta within the Meta, in other words a more ancient Metafrom emperor Augustus time was found in a cold day of January 2002. The latter was possibly bow-shaped (symbol of military victory), constructed on the borders of the ancient municipalities of Regio I and Regio X around 7 BCE. At the center was a conic cylinder of about 16.5 mt., a representation of Apollo possibly inspired by the Hellenistic models of Ambracia and Apollonia. The position of theMeta Augustea from east to west was in line with the road through which emperors celebrated their triumphs, it offers as a monument which gathers sacred, symbolic, ideological, topographic and urban meanings: stronghold it echoes to the foundation of Rome by the hand of Romulus. Its proximity to the Curiae Veteres, the archaic sanctuary connected with the foundation of the city, suggests a cultural and artistic re-founding of Rome and its political tradition. 


Clementina Panella (a cura di), Scavare nel centro di Roma. Storie, uomini, paesaggi, Roma 2013.