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John Halaka


Between Home and Homeland: Reflections on New Paintings from the series Eltifaf-Bypass by Rafat Asad

[Detail of Rafat Asad's

The tension between home and homeland is an ever-present subject that informs the work of many contemporary Palestinian artists. Since the beginning of the uprooting and fragmentation of the Palestinian people by an extended and expanding settler-colonial occupation nearly seventy years ago, the Palestinian experience of home has become largely diasporic and transportable, while their vision of a homeland, appears and disappears like a promising mirage that seductively lays ...

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Meditations From The Shadows of History: Reflections on Paintings from the series “Shadow of the Shadow” by Bashar Khalaf

[Detail of Bashar Khalaf's

Palestinian visual artists have consistently used their art as instruments of political resistance and cultural survival. Whether living under the severe restrictions and brutal manipulations of an extended colonial military occupation, or drifting in the constant uncertainties of exile, the great majority of Palestinian visual artists have taken up the cause of liberation, as well as the experiences of displacement and occupation, as the central themes of their ...

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Ghosts of Comfort and Chaos

[John Halaka's

When I was invited to write this article for the series Visuals in 1500, I was asked to begin with an image that would help clarify my thinking about the work I do as a visual artist. I decided to focus on a little-known painting that I first became familiar with through a reproduction in Kamal Boullata’s book Palestinian Art: 1850-Present. The painting is attributed to the Palestinian artist Daoud Zalatimo, who was born in Ottoman controlled Jerusalem in 1906 and died ...

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John Halaka

(photo credit Raeda Taha © 2012)

John Halaka is a visual artist, documentary filmmaker, and professor of Visual Arts at the University of San Diego. His creative work focuses on issues of displacement, memory, and identity construction. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship that enabled him to spend the past year in Lebanon recording oral histories with three generations of Palestinian refugees. His painting and drawings can be viewed at, while his documentary projects and video archives can be viewed at www. He can be contacted at jhalaka [at]