The Umm El Fahem Art Gallery will host “The Blooming of Spring,” an exhibition by the artist Usama Said, which will open on 27 April 2013. The exhibition, curated by Dr. Nava Sevilla...
Since 2008 the Umm el-Fahem art Gallery is operating an historical archive that holds and keeps building a collection of historical photographs, commissioned photographs,...
By Said Abu Shakra, Director of the gallery and the creator of the concept of future Umm el-Fahem Museum of Contemporary Art The city of Umm el-Fahem, an Arab city in Israel, lies on the...
The gallery's main goal is to be a home for Arab artists and Art and to create a meeting point for a meaningful dialogue between cultures
Cluster exhibitions under the title: "Memory and Geography" consists of five exhibitions which are on show at the exhibitions spaces of the gallery, all dealing with the links between the definition of a place, a domain, borders of a realm and private and collective memories. On the archive floor a group photography exhibition and a documentary exhibition made by cooperation between two international artists,
Shadows of Time: Photographic documentation of the Elders of Wadi 'Ara, 2007-2012
Curator: Guy Raz. Academic Consultant : Prof. Mustafa Kabaha
A group photography exhibition with the participation of Amar Younes, Shai Aloni and the Fa'our family. The photographs, made between 2008-2012, contain portraits of elder people in their eighties, citizens of Wadi 'Ara before 1948. The photographs were taken in the space of their residence today, mostly houses built after the establishment of Israel. The houses are not made from clay and traditional stone of the village but concrete houses of the contemporary cities. External and internal conflicts as well as physical and mental template seep into the houses. This template contains the historical and cultural identity of the inhabitants
Doris Bloom (Norway) in cooperation with William Kentridge (South Africa), Memory & Geography: “Fire/Gate,” 1995, The First Biennale for Art, Johannesburg, South Africa
Bloom, born in South Africa, is a performance artist active in Norway. Kentridge, is the most prominent South African artist on the contemporary art scene, known for his sketches, video and works of animation, which deal with relationships based on power and dominance, exploitation and freedom, on both the local and universal level. The artistic collaboration between Kentridge and Bloom, shown as a documentary exhibition, while falls into a category somewhere between performance and earthwork, included two special events in public, where the artists ignited monumental fire sketches on the ground, in the shape of a gate and a human heart.
The first mention of Umm el-Fahem is in a written document from 1262. The villagers earned their living by preparing charcoal from the trees of the neighboring groves, or that they would bring from far away, and heap in piles, for them to burn internally. Umm-el-Fahem, which means “the source of the charcoal,” derives its name from this.
The Umm-el-Fahem Art Gallery hosted “Memories of a Place,” a photographic exhibition, in 2008. No photographic history of Arab settlements in the Wadi Ara region had existed prior to then, since the historical photos of the region and its inhabitants that had been shot, were not kept in any archive, printed in books or put on show. One chapter of the “Memory of a Place” exhibition dealt with photographer Shai Aloni documenting the elders of Wadi Ara in the salon (“diwan”) of their homes. The photos helped us understand not only the old men captured in them, but the interior configuration of the room where guests are welcomed, all complemented by the verbal evidence from the video interviews, which were photographed and edited by the gallery staff. “Memory of a Place” laid down a infrastructure for the development of a historical archive, offering a residents of the area and visitors to the museum, a unique and original look on the Wadi Ara’s past. The current exhibition, “Shadows of Time: Photographic documentation of the elders of Wadi 'Ara", developed out of this infrastructure.
The pictures for the catalogue were photographed over a five-year period (2007-2012), and all are portraits of people whose average age is about 80 – Palestinian Israelis, Arab Muslims, citizens of the State of Israel. Most of them had lived in Wadi Arabefore 1948 and some in nearby villages that were destroyed once the 1948 war ended. The photographs show them in the places and homes where they live now most of which were constructed after the founding of the State of Israel. Thus, the construction is not the brick and stone of traditional rural architecture, but of the sort concrete characteristic of urban and suburban design. The courtyard and patio are outside the house, and the diwan or salon is inside. The contrasts – external/internal; physical/mental – seep into the form of the buildings in which the subjects of the photographs live, vessels of sort for their cultural and historical identity.
The elders of Wadi Ara answered the call and faced the cameras. Some, as documented in Shay Alony’s photographs, dressed in their traditional garb and seated in their in their own salon/diwan. Some sat on their patio, in their courtyard, or at work, dressed in everyday clothing, as we can see in Ammar Younes’ photos, while others were captured by the camera as they looked straight ahead, as though posing for a portrait,as documented in the work of Wijdan and Khaled Fa'our.
The willingness of the wadi elders to sit in front of the representatives of historical documentation – the photographers – enabled the latter to pass on an intimate glimpse of the faces of the elders, and of their homes and living spaces. In this way, they are passing the heritage of visual memory – something sorely lacking in Arab society -to future generations. It is the memory of the Arab house, their house; the memory of how they dressed; the memory of their look. It would be the last official memory for most of them.
Academic adviser: Prof. Mustafa Kabha & Curator: Guy Raz
The Catalog of Shadows of Time Photo Documentation of the Elders of Wadi 'Ara 2007-2012