For its tenth contemporary commission, Kosovar artist Petrit Halilaj will transform the museum’s Cantor Roof Garden with a sprawling sculptural installation. Halilaj’s practice is rooted in his personal experience and history. Born in SFR Yugoslavia (now Kosovo), he left the country at 13 during the Yugoslav Wars of 1991 - 2001. He learned to draw in a refugee camp in Albania when a team of psychologists gave children art supplies to help them process the traumas of the war. The Met has said that Halilaj’s rooftop commission will similarly engage with questions of displacement and belonging.
“Art has to be a form of communication," said David Breslin, the Met's Leonard A. Lauder Curator in Charge of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, about Halilaj’s work to the New York Times. "It has to embed within itself a form of critique, but it is also a form of optimism for how we can relate to each other.”