What is The 40.000 Trees Project?


The 40.000 Trees Project is a site specific performance that will take place in Sri Lanka starting on Decemeber 26 2008, four years after the tsunami. It is also a reforestation intervention in one of the areas worst devastated by the tsunami. This site-specific project represents the culmination of a series of works that I have been developing around this profound inspiration and will involve the planting of 40.000 trees along the coasts of Sri Lanka as a sign of remembrance for the 40.000 lives lost on the island during the natural disaster. While helping the reforestation of the affected areas, the trees will also constitute a small natural barrier against the future rage of Nature.


Asoka Family

On December 26th of 2004 I was sleeping on the beach of Unawatuna, Sri Lanka - in a lovely Guesthouse called The Strand - when the tsunami hit. I miraculously managed to survive the fury of the wave, after being trapped and almost drowned, but it was only thanks to the generosity and selflessness of the people of Sri Lanka that I managed to return safe home after an exhausting wait. Surviving this catastrophe of incalculable proportions, I feel like I have received an enormous gift but also a great responsibility. The tsunami, in fact, represents a great moment of meditation to reflect upon those events that go so much beyond our comprehension and understanding of the world; those we can't define as either positive or negative. They just ARE. Just like life itself: a constant cycle where after destruction can come new life.

What am I doing now?


I am developing a series of works that include essays, tsunami survivor kits, installations and performances. Specifically, 40.000 Trees - A Postcard from the Tsunami - is a multimedia performance that employs video, audio, dance and theater in an attempt to share this important piece of personal history, part trauma and part love story. The main purpose of this production was to bring people to a different level of consciousness about a specific disaster and its long term lasting effects, and hopefully inspire some of them to action. This performance took place on May 4th 2008 at MonkeyTown in Brooklyn, NY.

Buoy I have recently exhibited an interactive installation at the 12th Annual Art Under the Bridge Festival in Dumbo. D'Art Buoy is a site-specific multimedia installation that creates generative and meditative sounds thanks to a buoy anchored in the East River, which broadcasts its presence and voice live through music and evening light shows at the Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo. This piece was a collaboration with Gadi Sassoon and Alex Giorgetti. For more information, please visit the D'Art Buoy website.

Certificate I am currently in the process of contacting financing groups, fundraising and researching nurseries in Sri Lanka as well as other not-for-profit organizations that work in the field of reforestation and tree planting to start a collaboration and work out the practical details of this project by the end of Fall 2008. I recently received an Agroforestry certificate, after completing the training offered by Trees For the Future. I have submitted this project to a call-for-proposals and I created a 30-second video with my application, you can check it out high resolution on YouTube.


New Trees

Through a small contribution you will help plant 40.000 trees in Sri Lanka and help restore the ecosystem previously destroyed by the Tsunami. Inviting the local community to partecipate will constitute temporary job positions, a moment for activity and communal responsibility but also an occasion to pay homage to the families that took such great care of tourists while mourning their own losses. Donors will be able to monitor the process step by step through email updates and through the Blog that will document the entire mission. Later, thanks to Google Earth, they will be able to check out where the trees they have donated are located.

Ficus Religiosa

Random foliage

The Sacred Fig is a species of banyan fig native to Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indian and more. It is known by a wide range of local names such as Bo (Sinhalese) and Bodhi (Thai). This large plant is considered sacred by followers of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism: Siddhartha Gautama is referred to have been sitting underneath a Bo Tree when he was enlightened (Bodhi), or "awakened" (Buddha). Bo Tree is a well-known symbol for happiness, prosperity, longevity and good luck.


Random foliage

Mangroves are trees and shrubs that grow in saline coastal habitats in the tropics and subtropics. A mangal is generally a plant community and habitat where mangroves thrive. Mangroves protect the coast from erosion, surge storms, especially during hurricanes, and tsunamis. Their massive root system is efficient at dissipating wave energy. Those stretches of the coast that had mangrove forests emerged from the December 2004 tsunami with much less damage.