Cheryl_Portrait2_by_Steve_Campbell_-23CHERYL BRAGANZA(1945 – 2016) was a gifted artist and poet.  Of Goan origin, she was born in Bombay and grew up in Lahore where her parents owned Braganza Hotel (referenced in “Freedom at Midnight” Collins & Lapierre). After studying languages and the arts in Rome and classical piano in London, she moved to Montreal in 1966.    Essentially self-taught, her subjects vary from evocative landscapes, lush florals to vibrant figures of Indian women.
She has exhibited regularly and established herself as a Quebec artist with a style of her own, using brilliant color and texture to express emotion. The THE ATTIC GALLERY OF CONTEMPORARY ART in Goa, India has also hosted an Exhibition of her art and as a Canadian-Goan artist, she is honored to be represented by a
Goan art gallery.

To see a retrospective of her work, click on the following link:

Cheryl Braganza’s Art Gallery online: www.picturetrail.com/cherylbraganza

Also showcased at the following site:
http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/

A word from the Artist:
“I want my art to play a role in lifting people’s spirits, in challenging their assumptions, in provoking thought ….thus promoting dialogue between peoples towards peace. It is my belief that women will be the dynamic force to inspire a more caring, loving world….”
As a writer, she is presently working on her memoirs and has been appointed the Regional Representative in Montreal for the IWWG  (International Women Writers Guild – www.iwwg.org). She is also a member of the Quebec Writers Federation (www.QWF.org)as well as the English Language Arts Network (www.quebec-elan.org)
You can read her collection of poems entitled “Only Goodbyes” here.

email:cherylbraganza@videotron.ca

“We are glad to inform that Cheryl Braganza has been chosen for the MONTREAL WOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD FOR 2008 .
It’s an award that is given out each year by the Montreal Council of Women, a provincial and a national umbrella organization. It is the first time a woman of Indian origin has been chosen. ..” – The Montreal Gazette >>

“…..Finally, I think that what touches us most about Cheryl’s paintings is hope and the respect for life that we see mirrored there–in the Goan market-woman,  sitting at the side of the road, looking squarely at the viewer, in the woman, startled by the wonder of a butterfly, in the mother and her children, dancing in celebration. ..” Read the full Introductory speech by Evadne Anderson during the Awards Function on 17th Nov 2008 and her own moving response to being chosen the Woman of the Year, with glimpses unforgettable into the life of a woman who hailed from Pakistan and who dared and won the hearts of thousands in a place far off from her birthplace..”

She helped for the cause of education of Afghan girls and women by contributing the entire sales proceeds of a specially prepared calender of 12 of her paintings, entitled “ONE WOMAN’S JOURNEY”, printed by the CANADIAN WOMEN FOR WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN organisation based in Calgary. She says ” It was a project that kept me focused and exhilarated while I recovered from a difficult year of my life. It is basically my story in pictures and captions – and, an uplifting story, I might add. All the paintings, digital photography and writings are donated and I receive no money from the proceeds, except ofcourse a lot of satisfaction and solace knowing that I am contributing in a small way to the much-needed education of Afghan girls and women, whose plight is desperate;……….. all the while feeling good about reaching out to others in need.
It is also my way of connecting vicariously to all of you, near and far, who surrounded me with strength at a time
when I had none..”


Cheryl passed away in December 2016, after a prolonged battle with cancer. In remembrance, her son wrote an Obituary which we quote here in full.

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*Cheryl’s Story*

Some people leave such a ripple on the wave of humanity, that it floats us
all toward one another. This was my mother.

A musician with raw unbridled talent, Cheryl was offered a scholarship to
Juilliard when she was sixteen. From a young age, she played the piano,
the organ, the accordion, and the harmonica with equal versatility. She
began to paint in her 20’s and discovered that she was a gifted painter.

She was diagnosed with a bone-related cancer on her 60th birthday in 2005
and came a hairsbreadth from death four times, only to fight her way back
to life each time. For the last decade, while fighting cancer, a
handwritten quote from Goethe rested on top of her easel: “Rest not. Life
is sweeping by; go and dare before you die. Something mighty and sublime,
leave behind to conquer time.” Little did we know how much she would take
this quote to heart or put it into action.

Cheryl developed her painting talent with exponential speed. When asked why
she was working so feverishly, she answered “I’m in a race against time. I
have so much to say and so much more to bring into the world…” In her
last five years of life, she produced more artwork and published more
writing than she produced in the previous 20 years.

In 2008, she was named Montreal’s Woman of the Year for using her art as a
tool to fight for women’s rights all over the world. She was featured in
hundreds of media worldwide and was then elected President of the
prestigious Women’s Art Society of Montreal, which she grew dramatically.
Her effect on people became evident in the thousands of emails she received
from people she inspired across the world.

She lived longer than anyone in recorded history with myeloma cancer in
the brain, and refused painkillers because she didn’t want her senses
affected. Her only desire was to experience every moment in living color
until her very last breath. Following her last remission, limping in pain,
she decided to learn jazz from scratch, started her own jazz band and
played to sold out crowds in Griffintown for two years.

Our mother believed that in order to enjoy true happiness, she should live
each moment as if it were her last. Yesterday will never return. Tomorrow
may never happen. While we may speak of the past or of the future, the
only reality we have is that of right now, the present instant.

Confronting the reality of death enabled her to blossom with unlimited
creativity, courage and joy. The more broken her body became over the
years, the more she painted soaring images of birds, and butterflies, and
dancing women.

She was never alone, surrounded by an ever-increasing group of family and
friends who grew to love her (and each other). When the cancer finally
paralyzed her body, it was our turn to bring the joy to her; kidnapping her
from the hospital for secret outings, regaling her with live music every
day for nine months. And even then, we marveled how she could still paint
magical tapestries of colour and love with her face, her voice and her mind.

She died peacefully in her sleep after seeing her three children; her soul
soaring to the beautiful places reflected in her art.

Miguel Da Costa Frias

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