CV of Varda Polak-Sahm


Born in Jerusalem.

2004 MA in Jewish and Comparative Folklore, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

1989-1992   School of Photography, Jerusalem

1985   BA in history of theater, folklore and history of art, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

                                 Since 1985 Press photographer




Special Projects:

2006   “Secrets from the Mikve” at the Tel Aviv Studio Artura. A singular insight to the world of Jewish women at their ritual bath. The exhibition was displayed after the publication of her book “The House of the Secrets” on the Jewish Mikve.


2005  Represented Israel at the “Kirchentag” in Hannover with pictures of “Zaka”, a religious organization, which deals with the dead after terror attacks, car accidents or natural catastrophes.

2004  Curator of the exhibition “The Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia”. Varda Polak-Sahm “discovered” a large photo archive of peasants in Rajasthan, India, who live according to the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. She restored and chose the most astonishing pictures which then were shown in the Indian pavilion at the Expo 2000 in Hannover, at the UNESCO in Paris and at the Brunei Gallery in London and in 2006 at an environment event in Cornwell. The Prince of Wales visited the exhibition at the Brunei Gallery and was greeted by Varda Polak-Sahm.

1996  “By Bread Alone”. This photo exhibition was first shown in Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv and then became the first ever photography exhibition of an Israeli citizen at the Vatican. It was also shown in Amsterdam, Istanbul, Turkey, and extensively in Italy and Germany, among others in the Berliner Dom, where it was opened with a welcome from Federal President Johannes Rau.

The catalogue of this exhibition was presented to the Pope Benedict XVI by the President of Israel, Moshe Katzav



1995  Israeli-Jordanian Exhibition, “Camera with no Boundaries”, Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv. Three Israeli photographers traveled to Jordan, to bring back their impressions from that “foreign” country which had just signed a peace treaty with Israel. Two Jordanians came to Israel. The result was the first ever common Jordanian-Israeli photo exhibition. The opening in Tel Aviv war attended by the Jordanian Ambassador, Marwan Muasher, who later became Jordan’s foreign minister, and by the US-Ambassador Martin Indyk. The exhibition was supported by the Israeli tourism ministry and the foreign Ministry.


1995   Varda Polak-Sahm receives the first ever non-sportive award, granted to an Israeli citizen in an Arab country. At the Royal Academy in Amman, Jordan, she earns the prize of an international photography competition. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Israeli Embassy and from Arab countries like Syria, which have no ties with Israel until today.



1993-94  Documenting the gilding of Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock. Presented to Jordan’s King Hussein in Washington on July 25, 1994, by Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The international press called it the “Peace Album”.



1991   Cancer, Documenting the struggle of her young brother with cancer. The brother won and the photographs were donated to be a part of the campaign of The Israel Cancer Association.



Creates ever lasting artistic candles with imprinted photographs



* The House of the Secrets (in Hebrew), Modan 2005, (in English) Beacon Press 2009


  *By Bread Alone, Crossroad of Symbols, Rafael, Jerusalem, 2000

* The Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia, Frederfing& Thaler, Munich , 2000     



Group Exhibitions

2009-2010 Koscher & Co., Jüdisches Museum, Berlin, Germany

2007 Zentrum für zeitgenössische israelische Kunst“, München, Germany

2007 silence & crying out… Beth Zionei America, Tel Aviv,  Israel

2006 Bread,   Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

2000 “Beguf Rishon”, Exhibition of Creative Women, Congress Center, Jerusalem

1998 Photographer of the year, Tel Aviv

1998 “The Week before the War”, A Blossom of the Orange, Musrara Gallery, Jerusalem

1997 “The Blue Square”, Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv

1996 Bet Gavriel, Sea of Galilee

1995 Photographer of the year, Tel Aviv

1992 Cancer, Torino, Italy


Solo Exhibitions

2009 Pforzheim

2007 Urbaniana University, Vatican

2007 Kirchentag” , Hannover , Germany

2007’Jerusalem Stdat ohne Mauern ,Hannover, Germany

2005 Stadtmuseum, Miltenberg

2004 St Sebastian, Padova, Italy

2003 Landesmuseum, Braunschweig

2002 Rathaus, Lutherstadt-Wittenberg

2002 Norderstedt, Hamburg

2002 Berliner Dom, Berlin

2001 Verein An der Synagoge, Bonn

2000 Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem

2000 Convention Center, Aachen

1999 Bursa

1998 Urbaniana at the Vatican as well as other Italian cities

1998 Pädagogisch-Kulturelles Centrum Ehemalige Synagoge Freudental e.V.

1998 Ercürmend Kalmik Museum, Istanbul

1998 Bet Rothschild, Haifa

1997 Deutsches Brotmuseum, Ulm

1996 Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv



2004 Brunai Gallery, London, U.K  The  Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia

2004, Eden Project , Cornwall, U.K, The  Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia

2001 UNESCO Paris, France , The  Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia

2000 Expo Hannover, Germany, The  Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia