Biagio Schembari, born on June 16th 1947 in Comiso (Ragusa), moved to Florence with other young people from his same conscription and country and he enrolled and attended, for four years Scenography’s School at Florence’s Academy.
He was one of the most loyal and most productive students. The size of his work was sometimes impressive; when something bothered him, he disappeared day and night and sometimes even longer. We knew that he enclosed himself in his modest room-studio at his landlord’s house, to come back then, with folders full of studies and drawings, of photographic assemblies and collages, scenes ‘sketches and costumes. All of the possible techniques could be hold good for him, but the subjects were essentially the same ones. Figures and things were transformed into masses and volumes painted with warm colours, whites took lime’s texture.
Biagio loved coating his paintings with bitumen or mordent, as if he always wanted to erase of everything, a bit. As if Sicilian black women, ancient stone’s temples, mountains and caves of his land, always present in him, scared himself to jump out with too much violence and in any moment from his cardboards.
If one can think at first glance to some link between Biagio Schembari’s painting and that of his elder countryman Salvatore Fiume, one can make a mistake; I think, in fact, there might be just some few analogies rather than pictorial derivation. Indeed, when Biagio attended the first year in our class he was just a boy and he didn’t know Fiume’s paintings. Perhaps, the link between the two has to be searched in the same land and the same source in which they were born.
Ferdinando Ghelli , 1972
I remember Biagio Schembari’s presence among the students of our Academy, as one of those that stand out immediately for quality, commitment and promises, that don’t go unnoticed and that leave a memory. I subscribe with real conviction and pleasure the positive and loving judgement of his valiant principal of Scenography School, Prof. Ghelli, who better than me had the chance to know him and especially appreciate him.
Prof. G. Breddo
Director of the Fine Arts Academy, Florence, 1972