Apollo Magazine

Petrit Halilaj: Abetare

The Kosovan, who began drawing pictures while at a refugee camp in Albania in the 1990s, is the latest artist to be given free rein of the Met’s roof garden

Petrit Halilaj in his studio working on his exhibition at Tate St Ives, 2021. Photo: Angela B. Suarez

Each summer the Met invites an artist to create a work for its roof garden, which opened to the public in 1987 and offers a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. Over the years the site has been transformed into a carpet of blood-red paint by Imran Qureshi, dug up by Pierre Huyghe and colonised by Cornelia Parker’s Edward Hopper-inspired PsychoBarn and Lauren Halsey’s futuristic Egyptian temple. The Kosovan artist Petrit Halilaj, who is known for his large-scale hanging installations that meditate on the history and culture of his home country, is the latest to be awarded this high-profile commission (30 April–27 October). Halilaj began drawing pictures at the age of 13 while at a refugee camp in Albania, his family having fled Kosovo during the war in the late 1990s; his roof garden installation draws on those experiences.

Find out more from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website.

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Installation view of ‘Yes but the sea is attached to the earth and it never floats around in space. The stars would turn off and what about my planet?’ at Mennour, Paris in 2014. Photo: Archives Mennour; courtesy Petrit Halilaj/Mennour, Paris; © Petrit Halilaj

Installation view of ‘Very volcanic over this green feather (Papagall)’ at Mennour, Paris in 2022. Photo: Archives Mennour; courtesy Petrit Halilaj/Mennour, Paris; © Petrit Halilaj

Felt-tip drawing made by Petrit Halilaj at the Kukes II camp in Albania in 1999. Courtesy the artist

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