About the Artist, Petrit Halilaj
Growing up in a rural village in Kosovo during the Serbian-Kosovar war, Petrit Halilaj fled with his family after his house was razed to the ground. In his installations and sculptures, Halilaj explores this personal history and constructs dwellings and shelters that symbolize the personal space that was taken from his youth. At the 2010 Berlin Biennale, Halilaj exhibited a replica framework of the house his family built following the war, in and around which a roost of chickens was let loose and allowed to wander. Chickens, which featured heavily in his upbringing, recur in Halilaj’s work in live form, as a hybrid, deformed species in drawings, and through the image of the nest. It has been suggested that Halilaj’s fascination with what he has dubbed “bourgeois hens” is a commentary on the migration of Kosovar populations from rural to urban spaces.
Portrait by Andrew Testa.