She was born in East Jerusalem and received a BA in photography from the University of Saskatchewan and an MA in photographic studies from the University of Westminster. Before turning to visual arts, she worked as a freelance photojournalist for a number of magazines and newspapers. Halawani is director of the photography department at Birzeit University. In 2016, she was given a residency fellowship at the Camargo Foundation, in Cassis.
Her work has appeared in exhibitions in London, in Dubai, in Beirut, at the Khalid Shoman Foundation in Amman, at the Sharjah Biennial, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, at the Noorderlicht festival, in Rome, at Le Botanique in Brussels, at the Busan Biennale in South Korea and at the Arab World Institute in Paris.
Halawani's work is held in the following permanent collections:
- Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
- Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- British Museum, London
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
- Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman
- Nadour Collection, Germany.
- "Rula Halawani". World Press Photo.
- "Rula Halawani". Ayyam Gallery.
- Bajaj, Kriti. "Negation and nostalgia: Palestinian photographer Rula Halawani – interview | Art Radar". Art Radar Journal. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
- "Rula Halawani". nadour.org.
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