Wall Art and the Presence of Absence


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.

Published : 2018-06-30

HabibJ. (2018). Wall Art and the Presence of Absence. Review of International American Studies, 11(1). Retrieved from https://www.journals.us.edu.pl/index.php/RIAS/article/view/6389

Jasmin Habib  jhabib@uwaterloo.ca
University of Waterloo Canada  Canada

Jasmin Habib, Director of the Global Engagement Program, is a cultural anthropologist teaching in the Political Science Department and Global Governance program at the University of Waterloo. She completed her MA in International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA, and her PhD in Cultural Anthropology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. She recently co-edited, America Observed: on the International Anthropology of the United States with Virginia Dominguez. She is also the Editor-in-Chief and Anglophone Editor of Anthropologica, the journal of the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA), and author of Israel, Diaspora, and the National Routes of Belonging.  She frequently writes about the politics of displacement and dissident practices in the US, Canada, and Israel.

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