Who are they?

Who is Petrit Halilaj?

Meet the artist who creates colourful worlds full of imagination

Petrit grew up in a small village called Runik. When he was 12, he had to flee to safety when his home was attacked during the Kosovo War.

Living in a refugee camp, Petrit made drawings to help him understand the scary things he had seen. But his drawings also helped him to explore his dreams for the future too!

Petrit had a wild imagination! He would draw himself as a bird flying away over the horizon. Look at the picture he drew when he was 13:

bright drawings of a peacock on a tree branch with trees and a house in the background

Petrit Halilaj, Paesaggio Fantastico (Fantasy Landscape), 1999. Courtesy the artist and Giacomo Poli

What animal would you draw yourself as and why?

Petrit Haliaj

Courtesy Petrit Halilaj. Photo: Angela B. Suarez

Now Petrit is an artist who travels all over the world. He creates colourful artwork all about his life in Kosovo, his imagination, his memories and his hopes for the future. Petrit describes his work as ‘little nests’ for his history and his imagination to rest together.

How would you tell the story of your life, using objects and materials from your own history?

What would you put in your nest?

bright drawings hanging from the ceiling, depicting colourful trees, a house, a parrot, an antelope and a small boy

Petrit Halilaj: Very volcanic over this green feather, installation view at Tate St Ives, 2021. Photo: Tate Photography (Matt Greenwood)

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