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Lisa Barbera

Ermanno Olmi and Siracusa
February 9, 2021
Muriel Mayette-Holtz
February 13, 2021
Ph. © Lisa Barbera

Lisa Barbera. Art isn't a packet of biscuits

Lisa Barbera was born in Enna, studied at Catania and has travelled all over. Siracusa is where she stopped in 2013 and where she started the artistic activity that has made her famous. She went to the art high school in Enna and then to the Accademia of Fine Arts in Catania, where she stayed after her studies, soaking up the frenetic atmosphere of the city for several years, hanging out with friends in artistic circles on the one hand and in community activity on the other. She specialised in computer graphics and studied photography, she learned Braille and studied as an child-care assistant, worked on projects with the children in the Librino quarter to combat early school drop-out, and in the studio of an art-therapist.
After a period in the north-east of Italy, she returned home and to Siracusa where her daughter was born; at almost the same time, she started drawing again after years of wandering and many experiences because she realised that painting makes her feel good and helps her find her identity.
I started to create these characters of mine - Lisa says - as if they were friends who could understand me, people who had a soul, and when I was drawing the last part, the eyes, it seemed that they were looking into my room. These characters represented me, I drew for myself, not for exhibition”.

"I don’t like turning art into a product, like a packet of biscuits; a work of art should be loved by the person who buys it, it should be treated with respect"

Today she doesn’t seem to have moved very far away from that feeling and her reputation has been built up through direct contacts made by taking part in small exhibitions and through a canny use of social media where she promotes herself very efficiently. She decided not to become part of the ‘art system’ because she hates the idea that someone might commercialise something into which she has poured her world, her soul. “I don’t like turning art into a product - she states with passion - like a packet of biscuits; a work of art should be loved by the person who buys it, it should be treated with respect”. This seems to be how her way of being an artist touches the hearts of her admirers; to the point that they’ll often call her after buying one of her works to tell her about the feelings it arouses once in their houses, or she’ll ask them to suggest a title for a newly finished work.

These are paintings that seem to be illustrations, but Lisa Barbera’s art is very physical, material, made of paint-brushes and colours, and absolutely no computer graphics. When I ask her to define it, she quotes from a magazine where she read that works like hers can be defined as “expressionist fantasy”. She laughs as she says this because the idea of such a definition seems too banal; her true style is painting which unites art with a social conscience.
Gennaio 2021

Una vita passata a raccontare storie con le parole, la penna, la macchina per scrivere, il computer, l’obiettivo. L’ultima in ordine di tempo, nel libro Il patrimonio degli equivoci. Allarme beni culturali in Sicilia. Non ho resistito all’idea di guidare SiracusaCulture, di cui sono Direttore responsabile.