Sepia Prints (2014 - Present)
Portraits of Denial & Desire Sepia

Radea Taha. Digital Print. Sepia.
80 x 60 and 110 x 80 inches
John Halaka © 2015

Raeda Taha was born in Jerusalem, Palestine, grew up in Jordan and Lebanon and has Lived in Ramallah, Palestine, since 1995. She is an actress, an author and was also for 8 years, the press secretary for Yasser Arafat. 

Raeda is one of the most passionate, but complicated patriots that I know. The pivotal event that has shaped most of every aspect of her private and public life, occurred when she was 6 years old in 1972.  Raeda’s father, Ali Taha, was killed in a hijacking operation that he commanded.  She grew up as the oldest daughter of a revered martyr, the daughter of a national hero; a very complicated position for a Palestinian child, or any child, to be in.  Like many of the other children of martyrs, she was adopted by the nation and used as a symbol of the national struggle.

The nation, the struggle, the responsibility and the “honor” of being the eldest daughter of Abu Nidal (her father’s nom-de-guerre) defined her public life, but what defined her internal life was the tremendous wound to the heart of growing up without her father, who sacrificed himself and by extension, his family, for the national struggle. 

The duality of pride and pain, of reverence and revulsion, of agony and admiration, are the twisted and unstable pillars that define her existence, growing up and living in the shadow of a martyr.