Auguri Concept







If you believe the legend, the Aventine hill is connected to the very origins of Rome. It was by consulting auguries, the natural omens so popular with the pagan populations of antiquity, that the twins Romulus and Remus decided upon the name of the city which would have an unparalleled political and religious destiny. Upon the Aventine, first Remus saw an apparition of six vultures, an obscure augury of the preference of the gods. And a little later, twelve vultures appeared which circled the Palatine hill where Romulus was. These auguri had spoken and decided the name of the city. From Latin to Italian the term remained in use, developing new meanings. As an expression of good wishes or congratulations, the auguri point towards the future.

If an anniversary of eight centuries, as the Order of Preachers celebrates this year, looks back to the past, it also invites us to embrace the present and reflect upon a vision of the future. The title of this exhibition suggests such a perspective.

 15 dominican artists

The fifteen banners hung in the side naves of this Paleo-Christian basilica given to St Dominic by the Pope in 1220 are expressive of so many figures from the Dominican tradition. Each brother, sister or laity exemplifying the multitude of charisms of the Order of Preachers, the five continents where the ardour of St Dominic has spread, and the both joyful and turbulent times that the Dominican Family has undergone has been interpreted by an artist from the contemporary Dominican Order.

The historical figures offered their lives in the service of their contemporaries, handing on the Gospel message in varied circumstances by their creativity and mission. And today, the members of the Dominican Family continue to add to their fervour. The fifteen artists who recall them in this exhibition are witnesses to this. In this way, past and present join together in these fifteen banners, illustrating how tradition forms the foundations for mission today.

Kris Martin and Adam Rokosz, 

two contemporaries artists...

Two current artists form the contemporary heart of the exhibition. The first has no particular link with the family of St Dominic. Kris Martin enjoys an international reputation. His artwork conveys his thoughts on what he sees around him and presents certain challenges to those who are willing to give his work time. He received carte blanche to exhibit in Santa Sabina and his artwork will stimulate both those who usually frequent the basilica and those who are welcome for this exhibition.

The second, Adam Rokosz, is a young Dominican photographer who is displaying five photographs on the theme of the incarnation,

setting the exhibition in liturgical time around the feast of Christmas but also placing it in the Dominican charism that always seeks to incarnate the Gospel in the context of the period. The theme of incarnation further recalls the foundation of the Dominican tradition in the philosophy of Aristotle with his insistence upon observing creation to shape every thought to come to an understanding of life. Finally, it evokes the favourite Gospel of St Dominic, for Matthew begins with a long genealogy to proclaim the incarnation of God among men.

...expressing dialogue

The two artists found here together express another important aspect of the Dominican Tradition: dialogue. The stranger is welcomed right into the curial house of the Order of Preachers. This welcome itself provides a language to give expression to the issues concerning our contemporaries, allowing them to reach the heart of those who live in this place and are charged with finding words and images to hand on mercy and lay a path of evangelical hope. The Dominican friar in his turn is placed outside of his familiar conventual context to preach by images to the passers-by on Piazza Pietro d’Illyria. He goes to meet them where the Spirit has led him.

The contemporary vision and language of these two artists point us firmly towards the future. The children and young people of Adam Rokosz foretell what is to come and display a trust in the future. Kris Martin’s challenges become questions to address to the time to come. Both are auguri for what we build and pass on to the next generations.

A feast only makes sense if it combines history, present and future. These three aspects resonate in this exhibition and justify the exhibition’s title: Auguri!


Ulrich Engel OP

Alain Arnould OP