Since 2008 the Umm el-Fahem art Gallery has operated an historical archive that holds and keeps building a collection of historical photographs, commissioned photographs, oral interviews and mementos that tell the story of the life in Umm el-Fahem and the Wadi Ara area since the end of the 19th century.
The establishment of the archive within the gallery began with the creation of the exhibition "Memory of a Place" , at the gallery in 2008. The exhibition, curated by photographer Guy Raz and historically supervised by Prof. Mustafa Kabha, was very successful, especially as it attracted to the gallery local residents of Umm el-Fahem and Wadi Ara area, who wanted to share their common story.
Due to the great success of the exhibition, it was determined that the endeavor to collect more materials of a documentary nature about memories of the elders of Umm el-Fahem and Wadi Ara must continue. Also it was clear that "Memory of a Place" should become a permanant exhibition at the gallery, as it finally did, with the expansion of the gallery in February 2011. For the article by the curator of the exhibition, Guy Raz, please press here.
The work in the archive is directed by Prof. Mustafa Kabha, a researcher and lecturer in History and Communication at the Open University of Tel Aviv. Everyday work in the archive is conducted by Muhamed Hanni, Layla Gabarin and Eman Agbaria.
The work consists of the creation of filmed interviews of the elders of Umm el-Fahem and the Wadi Ara area, transcriptions of the interviews, and the building of an efficient and professional digital catalogue that will enable easy access to the archive's collections.
The archive has already produced a large calalogue in three languages of the main body of the archive photographed materials, titled "Memory of a Place", that accompanied the Exhibition of 2008. For the article by Prof. Kabha that was published in "Memory of a Place" please press here. The archive staff is working towards the publication of another volume that will encompass transcriptions of the elder's most interesting stories and memories.
The archive's staff, headed by Prof. Kabha, is currently working together with the gallery's staff on an International Conference on Oral History that is a collaboration with the Italian Association for Oral History. Together they are aiming at bringing leading figures from the field of Oral History and also artists who use oral history in their work for a three day seminar that will take place at the Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery in February 2011.