Adjacent to the Knights’ Halls in Old Akko, an ancient building with cruciform domes dating back to the Ottoman period houses a museum featuring rotating exhibitions of Israeli art alongside a permanent exhibit of the works of late artist, Avshalom Okashi (1916-1980). Okashi was undoubtedly one of Israel’s most salient artists and he left an indelible mark on Israeli art. He spent most of his life in Akko, where he set up his painting workshop (which became the Okashi Museum posthumously) in order to pass on his artistic heritage to future generations. Okashi taught art in most of Akko’s schools. He also taught at the University of Haifa’s Art Department during its initial years. The subjects of his early works are rooted in nature and in the human and spiritual reality of Israel and they are drawn from the biblical texts he grew up on in his grandfather’s home.
Avshalom Okashi was one of the lynchpins of the New Horizons movement, a group of artists that formed in Israel after the War of Independence and he presented his work in all of the group’s exhibitions. His works are exhibited in the section dedicated to the museum’s permanent exhibition in his name, which was established in his memory in Old Akko. Moreover, there are rotating exhibitions in the other section of the museum also featuring contemporary Israeli art. There have been several exhibitions of leading Israeli artists over the years, e.g.: Yigal Ozeri, Ofer Lalouche, Yechiel Shemi, Menashe Kadishman, Shmulik Katz, Tali Amitai-Tabib, Azriel Kaufman, Nahum Gutman and many more illustrious artists. The museum maintains an ongoing dialogue with artists pursuing Okashi’s path and with his pupils and exhibits their works at every possible opportunity.