The Citiblog

Doodles Are the Inspiration Behind the Met's 2024 Roof Garden Commission
April 29, 2024, 6:42.34 pm ET


The Met’s highly anticipated 2024 Roof Garden Commission, by Kosovar artist Petrit Halilaj (born 1986, Kostërc, former Yugoslavia), is now on view through October 27, 2024. For his first major outdoor installation, Halilaj has transformed the Museum’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden with a sprawling work that explores the intersection of reality and fantasy through the rich world of children’s drawings.

The installation’s metal sculptures are inspired by children’s doodles, drawings, and scribblings found on desks at the school he attended in Runik, Kosovo, as well as schools in Albania and countries from the former Yugoslavia, which are now undergoing significant cultural and sociopolitical change.

Halilaj is known for immersive installations that express a desire to alter the course of personal and collective histories, creating complex artistic worlds that claim space for freedom, intimacy, and identity.

Photo: Petrit Halijaj by Marjorie Brunet Plaza

For The Met commission, furtive drawings from children’s desks have been enlarged into three-dimensional metal sculptures, with each one retaining the trace of the original drawing. Together, they bring to public view the collective memory and imaginative power of generations of students whose lives were marked by traumatic conflicts and territorial divisions.

The Roof Garden Commission: Petrit Halilaj, Abetare is the 11th in the series of site-specific commissions for the outdoor space.

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Exhibit Photos: Petrit Halilaj, Abetare, 2024, The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York