John Halaka is a visual artist working in the fields of drawing, painting, photography and oral history, whose art practice adheres to the philosophy of “the artist as public servant.” His artwork is designed to provide an arena for meditation on survival and resistance as conditions that shape the life experiences of displaced populations
His series Landscapes of Desire is inspired by the ruins of Palestinian homes and villages destroyed during the 1948 Nakba (Palestinian Catastrophe). RESIST and other works in the series feel like ghostly apparitions, modeled with one or two stamped words that have been repeated thousands of times on the page to create a rhythmic pulsating texture. The resulting landscapes appear to exist in a transitional state between vanishing and becoming visible, suggesting a reality on the verge of disappearing or re-emerging before our eyes.
John Halaka’s artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He is the recent recipient of a Palestinian American Research Center Fellowship, which supported the first phase of his work in the West Bank, on a project titled Vanishing Harvest: Meditations on the End of Palestinian Agriculture. Halaka is a Professor of Visual Arts at the University of San Diego, where he has taught since 1991.