Calman Shemi was born in Argentina in 1939 and graduated from the school of Sculpture and Ceramics in Mendoza, where he was a student of the noted sculpture Rudi Lehman. In 1961, Mr. Shemi settled in Israel and joined Kibbutz Carmia.
Shemi has acknowledged many influences in his art and his life; the dramatic colors of his childhood in Argentina, the sun-baked landscape of his home in Israel, the sensuous colorism of Matisse, the philosophies of his art teachers, and even the ritualistic symbols of the ancient past. His working method, which relies on the assistance of skilled artisans to execute much of the technical part of producing his works, affirms Shemi's strong commitment to the communal ethic rooted in his experience on the Kibbutz.
In 1977, Shemi's work became an international symbol of peace when Israel's President Katzir presented a Shemi painting to the late President Anwar Sadat of Egypt.
Shemi moved to Jerusalem in 1981 and utilizing an original technique that he invented, developed, and eventually registered and patented, he began working in the new medium called "Soft-Paintings". Each soft-painting is created with thousands of pieces of felt and woolen threads, which Shemi uses to create a painting of unique texture, rich and strong in content and color, yet soft to the touch.
In 1993, after twelve years, Calman Shemi began a new medium, Laser Cut Metal Sculptures. As with all of Shemi's works they are done in bold vibrant colors that enhance nature rather than copy it, and add volume and a three dimensional feel due to multi-layers and the intentional shadows they create.
Works by Shemi are displayed in the permanent collection of
The Spertus Museum of Judaica, Chicago;
The Fashion Institute, New York;
King David Hotel, Jerusalem;
One Denver Place, Denver;
Citibank Corporate Offices, New York;
Jerusalem Theatre Digital Computers, Israel;
Bank Leumi, Israel;
Bank Hapolim, Israel;
The First National Bank, Israel;
Weightwatchers Corporate Headquarters, Farmington Hills
as well as numerous private collections world wide.
A special commission for the Carnival Cruise Lines
of Miami for their new ship "Sensation" resulted in Shemi creating original prints and paintings for all 1,200 cabins and large murals for the public areas.