Khaled Jarrar was born in Jenin, Occupied Palestine in 1976. Jarrar completed his studies in interior design at Palestine Polytechnic University in 1996. Upon graduating he smuggled himself to work as a carpenter in Nazareth, living as an underground “illegal” worker. In 1998 Jarrar enlisted in an intensive military training which resulted in working for Arafat as a personal body guard until Arafat’s death in 2004 and a 25 year career in the Palestinian Authority’s Presidential Guard. Attempting to create a life between the military and an artistic practice, Jarrar entered the field of photography in 2005. He graduated from the International Academy of Art – Palestine, Ramallah in 2011 and completed an MFA in fine art from the University of Arizona in 2019, where he was the recipient of the 2016 Anni and Heinrich Sussman Award.
Jarrar delves into contemporary power dynamics and how they affect everyday people within their sociocultural context. Employing a diverse array of mediums, including photography, video, installations, films, and performative interventions, Jarrar continually challenges the limits of artistic intervention to provoke social change and awareness.
Where We Lost Our Shadows, his filmic collaboration with Pulitzer prize winning composer Du Yun, premiered at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in 2019. His State of Palestine project was featured in the 7th Berlin Biennale. Jarrar’s work has been featured Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah; the New Museum, New York City; the University of Applied Arts, Vienna; the 15th Jakarta Biennale; the 7th Berlin Biennale (2012); 52nd October Salon, Belgrade; Al-Ma’mal Foundation, Dubai, Jerusalem; and the London Film Festival.
Infiltrators, Jarrar’s first feature-length film, was a documentary about everyday Palestinians “illegally” crossing the apartheid wall to be with their families in Jerusalem. It won the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics), Jury Special Award and the Muhr Arab Documentary Special Jury Prize at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2012. Notes on Displacement, his second feature length, about a Palestinian refugee’s flight from Syria to Germany, received a world premier at the IDFA Envision Competition in November 2022. In March 2023 it won the Jury Special Award at the Ismailia Film Festival. It is currently slated for inclusion in the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Ethnocineca Festival, and Biografilm Festival among others.