Asim Abu Shakra was born in Um el Fahm in 1961. In 1982 he moved to Tel Aviv and studied at Kalisher, the Tel Aviv School of Art, where he also taught between 1987-1988. Following a severe illness, Abu Shakra died in 1990 at the age of 28. The following year, a memorial exhibition of his works was held at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem and in 1994, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art mounted a solo exhibition of his work.
"Asim Abu Shakra succeeded in altering the course of Palestinian art and raising it from the status of a nostalgic-political art to that of a universal art ciphering political codes in deeper levels... From Palestinian art he took the traditional symbol of the sumud - an expression of tenacity and fidelity to the land - and gave it a relevant and broader dimension, aware both of its place in the tradition of Western art and of its meaning in the local symbolism of both peoples. Palestinian foreignness continues to cast its shadow on what might have been the best of Israeli art." (Tali Tamir, "The Shadow of Foreignness: On the Paintings of Asim Abu-Shakra" in Asim Abu-Shakra, exhibition catalogue, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, 1994, p. 86).