This exploration of Petrit Halilaj’s site-specific installation reflects the artist’s personal experience as a refugee of war and the universal hopes and fears captured in children’s drawings
Petrit Halilaj (b. 1986, Kosovo) is known for installations that draw on his personal experiences of uprooting, trauma, and disorientation. In his first major outdoor installation, Halilaj explores the intersection of reality and fantasy through the rich world of children’s drawings. This volume examines Halilaj’s inspirations from inscriptions, carvings, and scribbles that he discovered on desks at his former primary school. Halilaj catalogued these doodles—a record of children’s fantasies, fears, and private messages conveyed in many languages. An interview with Halilaj connects his practice with European artists of the 60s and 70s and details how memory, desire, identity, and the history of his native country present in his work. This publication reveals Halilaj’s installation to be at once a story of children in a time and place marked by social and political conflict and a universal reflection on youthful imagination, hopes, yearnings, anxieties, and dreams.
Iria Candela is the Estrellita B. Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art in the Modern and Contemporary Department at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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