10th of May 2016 (Cherry), 2020

The work 10th of May 2016 (Cherry) (2020) belongs to a series of large flower sculptures by Petrit Halilaj and Alvaro Urbano, made of a delicate steel framework and handpainted canvas.

The date in the work’s title refers to the day Halilaj and Urbano moved into their current studio and house, whereupon Urbano gifted his partner a cherry tree that is now growing and blossoming.

First shown on the occasion of Halilaj’s solo exhibition at the Palacio de Cristal, Reina Sofia in Madrid, the works were part of a gigantic nest inspired by the extraordinary courtship ritual of the bowerbird, who makes elaborate structures adorned with colorful objects in order to attract mates. The exhibition was intended to coincide with Halilaj and Urbano’s wedding day, which was delayed with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The various types of flowers in the series represent private moments in the artists’ personal history, exposed in all their intimate significance to the public: forsythias, palm seeds, cherry blossoms, poppies, carnations and lilies. Their exuberant display is a call for visibility and acceptance in environments that obstruct the right to love and exist freely.

Photos by Andrea Rossetti.