Wall Art and the Presence of Absence

Jasmin Habib


Jasmin Habib
University of Waterloo

Wall Art and the Presence of Absence

Abstract: This photoessay takes the reader on a walking tour through Wadi Nisnas, Haifa, Israel, where art appears on walls and where walls become art. Using de Certeau, Jasmin Habib reflects on the way that these pieces represent the political and cultural histories of Palestinian displacement, a politics of belonging as well as their return.  The artists’ imaginary of coexistence is set in stark contrast to the nativism that marks the world outside of these walls.

Keywords: Palestinians; wall art; photoessay; coexistence, de Certeau; Haifa


Palestinians; wall art; photoessay; coexistence, de Certeau; Haifa


De Certeau, Michel. “Walking in the City.” The Practice of Everyday Life. Translated by Steven Rendall. University of California Press, 1984, pp. 91-110.

Habib, Jasmin. “B’Tselem: A Human Rights Non-governmental Organization”. Oxford Encyclopedia of Human Rights. David P. Forysthe, Editor in Chief. Oxford University Press, 2010. pp. 198-202.

Habib, Jasmin. Israel, Diaspora, and the Routes of National Belonging. University of Toronto Press, 2004.

Habib, Jasmin. “On the Matter of Return to Israel/Palestine: Autoethnographic Reflections.” Ethnographic Encounters in Israel: Poetics and Ethics of Fieldwork, edited by Fran Markowitz, Indiana University Press, 2013, pp. 156-170.

Vizenor, Gerald. Survivance: Narratives of Native Presence. Nebraska University Press, 2008.


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