PRINT May 2001


Italy is the destination of choice for many Albanian immigrants. It is the closest Western nation geographically and, thanks to Italian TV, the one they know best. Since the collapse of the Communist regime in the early ’90s, Albanians have been streaming into the country both legally and otherwise—even, in some cases, entering surreptiously on mafiosi motorboats. In the Italian national imagination, those who sneak into the country are scapegoats for criminal activity, convenient targets for the widespread xenophobia directed at immigrants from the east.

Sislej Xhafa’s work is marked by such experiences of hostility, though his initial difficulties came at the hands of the Serbs rather than the Italians. In his native Kosovo, well before the province became the staging ground for geopolitical conflict, the now thirty-year-old artist created street installations and staged performances

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