Global artist Sislej Xhafa examines Louisville in exhibition




    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute will present “millimeter sentiments,” artist Sislej Xhafa’s first U.S. solo exhibition,  at the Cressman Center for Visual Arts Sept. 2-Oct.28.

    For “millimeter sentiments” Xhafa was inspired by a recent trip exploring the city of Louisville. Each miniscule piece, made from found materials, will address revolutionary ideas born here and how they’ve helped and/or hindered society.

    Born in Kosova and based in New York, the artist often considers subjects such as illegality, boundary transgressions and tension between authority and the people. Examples include a handmade Afghan rug in the form of a $100 bill, a police station decorated like a luxury hotel lobby and the greeting “Benvenuto” installed on a hillside in Tuscany when Italy was confronting a wave of immigration.

    “Despite Xhafa’s work in these conflicted zones, his art is not about creating discord,” said Chris Reitz, Hite’s gallery director. “Instead, Xhafa playfully reveals existing, if unspoken, tension and gives that tension a safe space for expression, often through humor. Indeed, his work is never overtly political, nor is it particularly resolved to advocacy or partisanship. Xhafa does not take sides; he delights in the spaces between them.”

    Xhafa’s work has been shown at the Italian Pavilion of the Venice Biennale; Detroit’s Museum of Contemporary Art, The Power Plant of Toronto, The Havana Biennial and the Gwangju Biennale, among many other venues. He also has received numerous public sculptural commissions, including “Hardau City Park Y” in Zurich and “Axis of Silence” in Geneva. This summer Xhafa’s work was featured in a solo exhibition at the Maxxi Museum in Rome.

    The opening reception will be 6-8 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Cressman Center, 100 E. Main St. Click here for gallery hours. For more information, contact Reitz at


    Niki King
    Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.