Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Arab American National Museum presents John Halaka: Landscapes of Desire

Arab American National Museum presents John Halaka: Landscapes of Desire an exhibition on view through January 5, 2014.

John Halaka Landscapes of Desire
The exhibition features 23 drawings – most in large scale – from the series Landscapes of Desire, created between 2009 and 2013 by the California-based Palestinian American artist. Halaka appears for an artist’s talk at 6:30 p.m. Friday, October 11, an event that is free and open to the public.

The metaphorical landscapes were inspired by the ruins of Palestinian villages and homes that have been destroyed since 1948. The images were produced with rubber-stamped words that define the forms, textures and tones of the landscapes. The repeated stamping of the words creates a visual mantra that compels the viewer to “remember,” “resist,” “return,” and “rebuild” while preparing to “forgive.”

Landscapes of Desire has been exhibited at the Jerusalem Fund Gallery in Washington, D.C.; at Halaka’s home institution, University of San Diego (CA); at Berzeit University in Palestine; and at the A.M. Qattan Foundation in London, United Kingdom, among other venues.

John Halaka is an activist-artist whose creative work serves as a vehicle for meditation on personal, cultural and political concerns. He creates images that raise questions, for himself as well as for the viewer, about some of the pressing issues of our time. His 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 is of Palestinian descent and was born in El Mansoura, Egypt, in 1957. He is a Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of San Diego, where he has taught since 1991. He has exhibited his work in 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 in In/Visible, the 2005 inaugural exhibition at the Arab American National Museum. He was an artist-presenter at the Museum’s national DIWAN: A Forum for the Arts in 2007, 2011 and 2013, and is currently represented in DIWAN5: The Exhibition, a group show closing Sept. 1, 2013 in the Lower Level Gallery at AANM.

John Halaka is the recent recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship that enabled him to develop a multi-disciplinary project with Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon.

The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves and presents Arab American history, culture and contributions. It is a project of ACCESS, a Dearborn, Michigan-based nonprofit human services and cultural organization.

More information at