The Arab city of Umm el-Fahem lies in the eastern part of Israel, near the seam line separating the State of Israel from the Palestinian Authority.
Fifty thousand people reside in the city that serves as an urban center for both the residents of Wadi Ara as well as the villages around it. The residents make their living in the building sector, in agriculture and in the liberal professions.
A shortage of land and permanent work places, acompanied by an unemployment rate which is among the highest in Israel, had previously markled the city as a place of economic and social hardship. In recent years the city has experienced an economic growth, and with it an increased sense of responsibility to social welfare and environmental issues, both from the residents and the local authority.
The Art Gallery
The Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery was founded in 1996, on the initiative of local residents and artists who wanted to bring quality contemporary art to the city and its population and to exhibit original Arab and Palestinian art.
With a lack of other art galleries in the Arab sector in Israel, the gallery has become an important social and cultural meeting place. Contemporary art exhibits, symposiums, creative workshops and seminars have drawn large audiences and have established the gallery as an important center in the local and international culture scene.
The gallery operates under the auspices of the El-Sabar Association, with a membership that includes intellectual and cultural figures from the entire Wadi Ara region. The association is a non profit organization and is supported by funds from the Ministry of Education of the State of Israel, the local municipality, various foundations, private donations and contributions from local residents.
The goals of the El- Sabar Association:
To present contemporary and high quality art.
To develop and enhance the awareness of art in all age groups.
To serve as a cultural and artistic center for artists of the Wadi Ara region as well as for other Arab and Jewish artists in Israel.
To encourage cultural dialogue between Arab and Jewish artists on a variety of themes, including ones related to critical current affairs.
To create a multicultural dialogue between artists from Israel and abroad.
To create the Umm el-Fahem Museum of Contemporary Art
Every year we host thousands of visitors at the gallery, students, tourists and art lovers.
We hope to see you among our guests,
Said Abu Shakra