Merging the real and imagined, political and folkloric, Petrit Halilaj (b 1986 in Kostërrc) works in a variety of media including sculpture, video, drawing and text, as well as traditional fabrics and materials. Halilaj’s work examines the relationship between cultural identity and heritage and personal and collective memory, and he often uses animals as metaphors for transformation, including giant performative moth sculptures, and installations of bird-like ‘creatures’. Most recently, his projects have centred around Runik, Kosovo, a site of Neolithic settlements and the village where he grew up and had to flee from to Albania with his family during the Kosovo War of 1998–99.
Prior to the exhibition, Halilaj will take part in Tate St Ives’s residency programme with the view to creating new work that will feature alongside several of his large-scale installations as well as works from series including Do you realise there is a rainbow even if it’s night!? 2017. Halilaj lives and works between Bozzolo (Italy), Berlin (Germany) and Pristina (Kosovo).