John Halaka, MFA

John Halaka
Phone: (619) 260-4107
Office: Camino Hall 006A

Professor, Visual Arts

  • 1983 MFA in Visual Arts from the University of Houston
  • 1979 B.A. in Fine Arts from the City University of New York Baccalaureate Program, with Brooklyn College as home school

“As a visual artist, I have long been committed to developing an art practice that adheres to the philosophy of “the artist as public servant.” For close to three decades, my artwork has investigated personal, social and political conditions of instability caused by physical and psychological dislocation.  My recent projects engaged Palestinian refugee communities in a process of speaking of their personal and cultural histories of displacement, resistance and survival. The work I produced as a result of my extended engagement with marginalized refugee communities, offers viewers a poetic space to reflect on our relationships and responsibilities to questions of exile and the persistent struggles of indigenous cultures against colonial oppression.  My artwork provides a visual arena for both the participants and the viewers of my images and videos, to meditate on issues of banishment, memory, desire, survival and resistance, as conditions that shape the life experiences of displaced individuals and populations.”                  JH. 2018

 

John Halaka’s Artwork has been exhibited, and his films have been screened, nationally and internationally.  An upcoming solo exhibition of Halaka’s work, titled Faces From Erased Places, will open at Al-Hoash Gallery in Jerusalem, in May 2018, while a  one-person exhibit of drawings from the series Ghosts of Presence / Bodies of Absence, was held at GalleryOne, Ramallah, Palestine in 2017. Recent exhibitions of Halaka’s work from the series Portraits of Denial & Desire, were on view in solo shows at the Fondacion Tres Culturas, in Seville, Spain; Rice University, in Houston, Texas; The University of Alaska, Anchorage; the University of San Diego; the Tasneem Gallery, Barcelona, Spain; the Palestine Center’s Gallery El Quds, Washington, D.C.; as well as a in a traveling solo exhibition that was displayed at six public venues in various parts of Catalonia, Spain. In 2013-2014, John Halaka had a solo exhibit of drawings from the series Landscapes of Desire, at the Arab-American National Museums in Dearborn, Michigan.   He was awarded a Fulbright Research Fellowship to develop the second-phase of a community-based project with Palestinian refugees residing in Lebanon.

A selection of Halaka’s paintings, drawings and photographs can be viewed on his art web site: www.johnhalaka.com. Information about his film projects and oral history archives can be found on his film web site: www.sittingcrowproductions.com.

Areas of Expertise

Visual Artist working in the fields of Painting, Drawing, Photography, Documentary Filmmaking and Oral History Current research emphasis focuses on the narratives and experiences of Palestinian refugees; as well as on modern and contemporary Palestinian art.

Professional Experience

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS:

2018      FACES FROM ERASED PLACES.

                  Al-Hoash Gallery.  East Jerusalem, Palestine.

2017      GHOSTS OF PRESENCE / BODIES OF ABSENCE.

                  GalleryOne.  Ramallah, Palestine

2016      PORTRAITS OF DENIAL & DESIRE.  PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN HALAKA

                  Fondacion Tres Culturas.  Seville, Spain

2015      PORTRAITS OF DENIAL & DESIRE.  PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN HALAKA

                  Touring exhibition at six branches of the Catalan Public Libraries. Catalonia, Spain. January – July 2015

2015      FORGOTTEN SURVIVORS:  DRAWING PROJECTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN HALAKA

                  Kimura Gallery. University of Alaska at Anchorage.  Alaska

2015      PORTRAITS OF DENIAL & DESIRE.  PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN HALAKA

                  Rice University. Media Center Gallery. Houston, Texas

2014      PORTRAITS OF DENIAL & DESIRE.  PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN HALAKA

                  University of San Diego, Exhibit Hall. San Diego, California

2014      PORTRAITS OF DENIAL & DESIRE.  PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN HALAKA

                  Tasneem Gallery.  Barcelona, Spain

2014      PORTRAITS OF DENIAL & DESIRE.  PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN HALAKA

                  Palestine Center’s Gallery Al Quds.  Washington, D.C.

2013      LANDSCAPES OF DESIRE

                  Arab-American National Museum.  Dearborn, Michigan

2011      LANDSCAPES OF DESIRE

                  Mosaic Rooms Gallery. A.M. Qattan Foundation.  London, United Kingdom.

2011      LANDSCAPES OF DESIRE: DRAWINGS BY JOHN HALAKA

                  Paltel Virtual Gallery of Palestinian Art.  Birzeit University. West Bank, Palestine.

2010      LANDSCAPES OF DESIRE: DRAWINGS BY JOHN HALAKA

                  Student Life Pavilion Gallery. University of San Diego. California.

2009      LANDSCAPES OF DESIRE: DRAWINGS BY JOHN HALAKA

                  The Jerusalem Fund Gallery. Washington, D.C.

Honors and Affiliations

1991-Present Professor of Visual Arts. The University of San Diego, Department Art, Architecture + Art History 2017 Visiting Artist. Dar al Kalima University College of Arts & Culture. Bethlehem, Palestine. 2015 & 2017 Visiting Artist. Palestine International Art Academy. Ramallah, Palestine. 2011-2012 Affiliate Scholar. American University of Beirut. Department of Architecture & Design. 2007-2008 University of San Diego, University Professorship. Highest teaching/research award bestowed annually on a faculty member

Awards

  • 2011-2012 Awarded a Fulbright Research Fellowship to develop a multi-disciplinary project in Lebanon that includes an oral history archive, a documentary film, drawings and photographs. The projects explored the personal narratives and experiences of Palestinian refugees exiled in Lebanon.
  • 2007-2008 Awarded a University of San Diego project based University Professorship.
  • 2007-2017 Awarded several University of San Diego Internationalization of the Curriculum Travel Grants
  • 1993-2017 Awarded several University of San Diego Faculty Research Grants and Large Faculty Research Grants.
  • 1993 California Council for the Humanities, and the Price Family Fund. Awarded two grants to organize a multi-disciplinary symposium titled "The Hopes and Fears of Palestinians and Israelis"
  • 1992 Irvine Foundation, Faculty and Curriculum Development Grant. Awarded to carry out a video art project titled "Bridges of Identity: Arab-Americans Speak of Their Personal History."
  • 1990 & 91 National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts. Teacher of "ARTS 90 & 91" awards.
  • 1986 Dallas Museum Artist Grant
  • 1977 Jane Guggenheim Winslow Fellowship

Scholarly Work

June 2017 Images from the series Portraits of Denial & Desire are reproduced in the book: Understanding Statelessness. Edited by Tendayi Bloom and Philip Cole Tonkis. Routlidge, U.K.  2017

July 2016 “From Home to Homeland.  Reflections on New Paintings by Rafat Asad.” Jadaliyya on-line Journal.

April 2016 “From Home to Homeland.  Reflections on New Paintings by Rafat Asad.” Catalogue essay. Gallery One Publications.

March 2016 “Meditations from the Shadows of History:  The Paintings of Bashar Khalaf.”  Jadaliyya on-line Journal.

Feb. 2016 “Meditations from the Shadows of History:  The Paintings of Bashar Khalaf.”  Catalogue essay. Gallery One Publications.

Feb. 2016 “Shadow of the Shadow.” Article on the paintings of Bashar Khalaf.  This Week In Palestine. Feb.2016.

Jan.  2016 “Inside as an Outsider.”  Essay for the book Being Palestinian: Personal Reflections on Palestinian Identity in the Diaspora.   Edited by Prof. Yasir Suleiman. Edinburgh University Press.

July 2015 “Sketches from the Margins of Marginalized Communities: Lessons in Survival, Resilience and Resistance Acquired from Palestinian Refugees.” Chapter for the book Migration Across Boundaries.  Edited by Dr. Parvati Nair and

                                    Dr. R. Tendayi Bloom.  Ashgate Publishing.  London.

July 2015 “Journeys of Survivance.”  Chapter for the book The Map is Not the Territory:  Parallel Paths-Palestinian, Native American and Irish.  Edited by Jennifer Heath.  Backsun Publishing. Colorado.

March 2013 Ghosts of Comfort & Chaos.”  John Halaka.  Jadaliyya on-line Journal.                                    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/10784/ghosts-of-comfort-and-chaos.

Fall 2008 Outsiders on the Inside.” John Halaka.  Published in the Australian journal Nebula, in an issue devoted to the Palestinian / Israeli conflict. http://www.nobleworld.biz/At.

Conferences and Presentations

May 2017 “The Presence of Absence.”   University of California, Los Angeles.  Los Angeles, California.

March 2017 “Ghosts of Presence / Bodies of Absence.” Artist’s talk in conjunction with my exhibition at GalleryOne, Ramallah, Palestine

March 2017 “Meditations on Suvivance.” Dar Al-Kalima University College of Arts & Culture. Bethlehem, Palestine

Oct. 2016 “Palestinian Narratives of Survival and Resistance.”  Panel Presentation. The Oral History Association’s Annual Conference.  Long Beach, California.

May 2016 “Memory As Resistance.”  Lecture presented at the conference “ Art and Resistance.” Dar Al-Kalima University College of Arts & Culture. Bethlehem, Palestine.

April 2016 “The Iron Wall and the Trail of Tears.”  Presentation at the symposium “Catholic Diplomacy and Peacemaking at a Time of Endless War.”  University of San Diego.

Jan. 2016 Public Lecture about my current Artwork.  Palestine International Art Academy. Ramallah, Palestine.

Dec. 2015 Public Lecture about my current Artwork.  An Najah University. College of Visual and Performing Arts. Nablus, Palestine.

Jan. 2015 “Standing with Disposable People.” Public Lecture in Conjunction with my Exhibition “Portraits of Denial & Desire.”  Rice University.  Houston, Texas.

Dec. 2014 “Forgotten Survivors.” Lecture to the Bridge Program at Antioch University.  Los Angeles, California.

Dec. 2014 “Disposable People.” Lecture to Art and Art History students at El Camino College. Los Angeles, California.

Oct. 2014 “Memory as Resistance:  Narratives of Palestinian Survivance.”  Conference lecture at the Peace & Justice Studies Association’s Annual Conference.  San Diego, California.

Oct. 2014 “Forgotten Survivors.” Public Lecture in Conjunction with my Exhibition “Portraits of Denial & Desire.” University of San Diego.  San Diego, California.

July 2014 “Disposable People.”  Public Lecture at the Conference “Statelessness and Transcontinental Migration.”  United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Migration. Barcelona, Spain.

May 2014 “Portraits of Denial & Desire.”  Keynote lecture at the University of Chicago’s Palestine Awareness Week.

April 2014 ‘The Artist As Public Servant.”  Public Lecture in conjunction with my solo exhibition “Portraits of Denial & Desire.”  Gallery Al Quds. Washington, D.C.

March 2014 “Portraits of Denial & Desire.”  Public Lecture at Al-Awda Center, Miami, Florida. 

Feb. 2014 “Survivance: Narratives of Palestinian Refugees.” Conference lecture at the College Arts Association Annual Conference, Chicago Illinois.

Dec. 2013 “Forgotten Survivors.”  Public Lecture at the Al-Awda National Center.  Carlsbad, California.

Nov. 2013 “Portraits of Denial & Desire.”  Public Lecture at Ventura County Al-Awda Center.  Moorhead, California.

Nov. 2013 “The Art of Resistance.” Keynote lecture at UCLA’s Palestine Awareness Week. University of Californian, Los Angeles.    

Nov. 2013 ”Portraits of Denial & Desire.”  Public Lecture.  The Palestine Center, Jerusalem Fund Gallery.  Washington, D.C.

Oct. 2013 ”The Artist As Public Servant.”  Public Lecture in conjunction with my solo exhibition Landscapes of Desire.  The Arab American National Museum. Dearborn, Michigan.

Sept 2013 “Memory as Resistance.”  Keynote lecture at the Al-Awda national Conference. Cleveland, Ohio

April 2013 “Portraits of Desire & Denial” Public Lecture at the Al-Awda Center. San Diego, CA.

March 2013 “Portraits of Desire & Denial” Lecture at DIWAN 5 Conference. The Arab-American National Museum, Dearborn, Michigan.

June 2012 “Portraits of Desire & Denial”. Keynote lecture at the conference Displacement, Resistance and Representation: Culture and Power in Contexts of Migrancy.  Queen Mary University of London. London, U.K.

June 2012 “Visualizing the Presence of Absence in the Palestinian Experience of Exile”.  Lecture at the conference Displacement, Resistance and Representation: Culture and Power in Contexts of Migrancy. Queen Mary University of London. London, U.K.

April 2012 “Portraits of Desire & Denial”.  Public Lecture at the Ba’akleen National Library.Ba’akleen, Lebanon.

March 2012 “Forgotten Survivors: Reflection on Palestinian Landscapes of Desire & Denial”. Public Lecture at the Birzeit Museum. Birzeit University. Birzeit, Palestine.

Jan. 2012 “Forgotten Survivors: Reflection on Palestinian Landscapes of Desire & Denial”. Public Lecture at American University of Beirut. Beirut, Lebanon.

May 2011 “Desire & Denial.” Public lecture at the Mosaic Rooms Gallery. London, U.K.  The lecture was in conjunction with my exhibition “Landscapes of Desire”.

March 2011 “Artists Intervene in the Realities of War”.  Presentation on panel discussion as part of DIWAN 2011. Conference organized by Arab-American National Museum and presented at the City University of New York graduate Center

News

. Ghosts of Presence / Bodies of Absence. Exhibition Catalogue.  GalleryOne Publications.  March 2017.

. Interview With Palestine national Public Radio.  Host Nisreen Awwad:  http://vop.ps/page-21758.html.  March 17, 2017

. Live TV Interview about my Exhibition “Ghosts of Presence / Bodies of Absence” on El Falestinia Television.  March 23, 2017

. Ghosts of Presence / Bodies of Absence. Review by Faten Nastas in Bethlehem Brighstar.  March 20, 2017:                   http://brightstarsbethlehem.org/2017/03/ghosts-presence-art-john-halaka/

. Stages of Homeland: Remembered Ghosts – Haunted Memories. Review in Jadalliya by Samer El Samber. April 6, 2017. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/26305/stages-of-homeland_remembered-ghosts_-haunted-memo?mc_cid=c6e032d750&mc_eid=aca12a096e

. Ghosts of Presence / Bodies of Absence. Review by Faten Nastas in This week in Palestine. March 22, 2017.                 http://thisweekinpalestine.com/review/ghosts-presence-bodies-absence/

. Artwork included in the book:  Palestine: Contemporary Art From Within and Beyond the Border.  Edited by Faten Nastas Mitwasi. Imago    Mundi. Luciano Benetton Collection. 2016

. Radio interview.  Voice of Palestine- Palestine National Public Radio. Program:  Gallery with Nisreen Awad. Dec. 19. 2015.                                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA0GvgHJDE0&feature=share

. Sarah Irving. Art Show Tells of Global tales of Dispossession and Exile. Electronic Intifada  July 9, 2015.      https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/sarah-irving/art-show-tells-global-tales-dispossession-and-exile

. Bashir Makhoul & Gordon Hon. The Origins of Palestinian Art. Liverpool University Press. 2015.

. Sarah Irving.  Palestinian Artist John Halaka opens Barcelona Exhibit” at Al-Quds Gallery, Washington, D.C.  The Electronic Intifada.

                  http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/sarah-irving/palestinian-artist-john-halaka-opens-barcelona-exhibition

 

. Sarah Irving. Ghost-Like Images Haunt New York Display by Palestinian Artists. April 27, 2015.  The Electronic Intifada.

                  http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/sarah-irving/ghost-images-haunt-new-york-display-palestinian artists?utm_source=EI+readers&utm_campaign=d60ad41aea-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e802a7602d-d60ad41aea-290637425

 

. Valerie Beheiry. The Map Is Not The Territory: Parallel Paths – Palestinians, Native Americans, Irish.  International Journal of Islamic Art.    Volume 4.  Number 1. Spring 2015.

.Review of exhibit at Al-Quds Gallery, Washington, D.C. Islamic Arts Magazine: 

                  http://islamicartsmagazine.com/magazine/view/portraits_of_denial_desire_john_halaka/

 

. “Waging Peace:  Portraits of Denial & Desire.”  Article on exhibit at Al-Quds Gallery, Washington, D.C. Washington Report on Middle

                  East Affairs.

http://www.wrmea.org/wrmea-archives/553-washington-report-archives-2011-2015/current-issue/12371-waging-peace-portraits-of-denial-                    desire.html

 

. Marta Monedero.  Retrato les Absencies del Refugiats Palestins.  El Punt Avui. July 27, 2014. Catalonia, Spain.

.Kathy Zarur. Translation to Portuguese and republication of article “Art of the Levant.”

 http://www.contramare.net/site/pt/palestinian-art-and-possibility-made-in-palestine-an-examination/

 

. Podcast of lecture at the Palestine Center’s Gallery AL Quds:  http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/display/ContentDetails/i/43197

. Dagmar Painter.  The Map is Not the Territory:  Parallel Paths-Palestinian-Native American-Irish. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. October 2013. http://www.wrmea.org/wrmea-archives/551-washington-report-archives-2011-2015/september-2013/12180-the-map-is-not-the-territory-parallel-paths-palestinians-native-americans-irish.html

.Nora Barrows Friedman. I want them to Stand and Look.  Podcast of interview with John Halaka. The electronic Intifada. September 11, 2013.                   http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora-barrows-friedman/i-want-them-stand-and-look-artist-john-halaka audio?utm_source= EI+ readers&utm_campaign=3beb2e480a-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e802a7602d-3beb2e480a-290637425

. Despina Moutsouris.  Interview With John Halaka. "This Week in Palestine" radio program on WZBC Newton 90.3 FM Boston College         radio. September 8, 2013. 46 minutes. http://archive.org/details/TWIP-130908-DM-Halaka

. Sarah Irving. American Curators are Cowards when it Comes to Political Art. The Electronic Intifada. August 25, 2013.         http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/sarah-irving/american-curators-are-cowards-when-it-comes-political-art-says-palestinian-artist

. Sarah Irving. Preserving Memory Through Art: An Interview with John Halaka.  The Electronic Intifada. August 30, 2013.   http://electronicintifada.net/content/preserving-palestines-memory-through-art-interview-john-halaka/12728?utm_source=EI+readers&utm_campaign=04c55d7e07-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e802a7602d-04c55d7e07-290637425

. Participated in an hour-long interview focusing on my artwork. The interview was broadcast on the Boston radio station WZBC on May 13,                  2012.

 

. Niam Fleming-Farrell. “Putting an Activist Stamp on Art”.  The Daily Star. Lebanon. January 9, 2012.       http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Culture/Art/2012/Jan-09/159163-putting-an-activist-stamp-on-art.ashx#axzz1it96bJai

. Anwar Hamed.  John Halaka’s “Landscapes of Desire” and the Persistence of Memory.  Exhibition review on the BBC Arabic website.                   http://www.bbc.co.uk/arabic/artandculture/2011/05/110505_landscape_art_exhibition.shtml

. Michele Lee.  An Idea Called Tomorrow. Exhibition Catalogue. Californian African American Museum. 2010.

. Salwa Mikdadi.  New Visions: Arab Cotemporary Art in the 21st Century.  Transworld Publ. London. U.K. 2009

. Sonia Nettnin.  Film Review:  The Presence of Absence in the Ruins of Kafr Bir’im. Znet.                  http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/16745.

. Encyclopedia of Arab American Artists.  2007 .  Greenwood Publishing Company. Portsmith, New Hampshire.  March 2008. Fayeq S. Oweis

. Kathy Zarur.      Looking at the Levant. Art in America.  September 2006.

. Holland Cotter. Made in Palestine.  The New York Times.  March 24, 2006.      http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE6DC1730F937A15750C0A9609C8B63

. Kevin J. Kelley.  Looking Homeward:  Made in Palestine. Seven Days.  November 2, 2005.              http://www.sevendaysvt.com/features/2005/looking_homeward/

 

Areas of Interest

Professor of Visual Arts. Teaching at USD since 1991.

All levels of Painting and Drawing; as well as Modern and Contemporary Palestinian art