John Halaka, MFA
Professor, Visual Arts
John Halaka is professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of San Diego, where he has taught since 1991. He is an activist artist whose creative work serves as a vehicle for meditation on personal, cultural and political concerns. He creates images and produces documentary films that raise questions, for himself as well as for the viewer, about some of the pressing issues of our time. The primary focus of his work over the past two and a half decades can be summarized as an ongoing reflection on the frailty and resilience of the human condition and the persistent search for self-realization in the face of personal and cultural self-delusion.
BA, City University of New York Baccalaureate Program (Brooklyn College as home school), Fine Arts (1979)
MFA, University of Houston, Visual Arts (1983)
Scholarly and Creative Work
Halaka’s experiences as an artist of Palestinian descent shape his pictorial investigations of cycles of repression and displacement as well as the personal and political relationship between desire, denial and instability. His recent work in both painting and documentary filmmaking investigates issues of identity construction from personal, familial and political perspectives
Halaka has exhibited his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions locally, nationally and internationally. His work was included in the exhibit "Made In Palestine," organized by the Station Museum, in Houston, Texas, as well as, I"N-VISIBLE," the inaugural exhibition at the Arab American National Museum in Detroit, Michigan. Halaka also painted several murals in the West Bank and Gaza strip of Palestine. His recent documentary film credits include The Presence of Absence in the Ruins of Kafr Bir’im (60 minutes, released November 2007, SittingCrow Productions) and Wounds of the Heart: An Artist and her Nations (53 minutes. March 2009. SittingCrow Productions). Halaka’s art can be viewed on his web site www.johnhalaka.com. His documentary projects can be viewed on his film web site www.sittingcrowproductions.com.
Halaka is the coordinator of the Painting, Drawing and Printmaking programs at USD and teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced courses in painting and drawing. His lower division courses are designed to systematically introduce the student to the diverse and creative languages of painting and drawing. His intermediate and advanced courses develop greater fluency in those languages while individually guiding each student to create a cohesive, meaningful and compelling body of work. An extended process of research and reflection enables advanced students to create works of art that are informed by personal, cultural and political concerns.