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Dec 06, 2011
Tribute to Freedom
by Svetlana Wells
Daniel Schinasi, the founder of the art movement, was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1933 to a Sephardi family with a long history of practicing extortion for religious reasons. Overwhelmed by his own memories, yet fully aware of his family’s historical past, Schinasi’s powerful images are readily acknowledged.
While in Egypt, young Daniel worked at a Citroen factory by day and as a painter by night and on Sundays. On December 14, 1956 a personal“day arrived, one that marked a new path for Daniel and his family.
During the Suez War he was suspended from work for being a Jew, even though he was originally Italian. The decision to leave the country, then ruled by dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser, was very quick. Daniel went to the Italian Consul General and pleaded for a chance to return to the country of his ancestors, Italy. Four days later, he and his family were on the “Esperia” ship that took them to the Liberty.
Many years later, he still bears the vision of Alexandria, white and foggy as he walked away, with seagulls following him.
Refugees from Egypt, they settled in Livorno, Italy. There, in Tuscany, Daniel studied the art of Renaissance masters, which greatly influenced his techniques in his later artistic years.
For Schinasi, being a Jewish artist meant much more than just a recovery of his childhood memories of the Alexandria exodus and exile in Europe. It also meant being aware of his religious reaffirmations, as one of among those who struggle for their freedom and their future while trying to individually uphold the role of mankind as the bearer of universal civilization.
Schinasi’s paintings do not allow the viewer to abandon reality through unconscious dreams, symbols or allusions. His great strength lies in his clearly expressed rationality and his dynamically realistic representations of human life. His art utilizes a variety of compositional techniques in oil, tempera, pen, pencil and pastel. His various scenarios are rich minefields of history and life.
Some of Schinasi’s paintings are inspired by religious and biblical themes, pervaded by a deep spirituality. They teach how the truth of the past can enhance our everyday life. But some of them simply claim the power of color expression, symbolism, and freedom of art form.
Through his art he brings historical memory to the present. He highlights the martyrs and the persecuted, the victims of all violence, and the Nazi-Fascist massacres. He never forgets his roots, and reminds us that the Jew is no longer “The Sacrificed Jew” but a man among men with the dignity and common values of all of mankind.
The painting(1998, 70x65), expressive of human feelings and poetic inspirations, is addressed to the people of Israel. On the light-infused background of the City of Jerusalem, in harmony with nature and the landscape, peaceful farmers of Israel work in fields full of crops, fruits and flowers.
This painting is full of energy, air and light. It shows simple men captured by an enchanting dream of a bright future. It is a triumph of colors: gradual yellows, bold reds, and various blends of blues. White doves in the sky represent an auguring transition from darkness to light as they convey doubts of the future.
Schinasi’s art exemplifies high spirituality inspired by the present-day realities of Israel juxtaposed with its historical past. As a modern artist, he serves as a type of cantor of the Jewish world and of general humanity.
Since 1956, Daniel Schinasi has held many exhibitions, in Europe, South America, United States and Israel. His paintings are hung in museums, art galleries and state buildings, as well as in private collections in Italy, Switzerland, and in France, where he lived for much of his artistic life.
Schinasi has long been an advocate of figurative arts and a defender of humanism and fraternity. His wife of 45 years, Manuela, and his two children, Sarah and David, are his greatest supporters and the biggest inspiration of his artistic life. He currently resides in Nice, France, and in Tuscany, Italy. He is currently exhibiting his triptychin the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera, Pisa (Italy).
The Ambassador of Italy in Israel
The artist will attend