Yes, we women, we hide so much under mantles of lace, under saris of silk, under burqas, under apple pies and strawberry tarts.
We hide until we no longer can.
~ Cheryl Braganza
Cheryl Braganza tells us that to be born female in Bombay, India, to grow up Catholic in the Muslim country of Pakistan, was to be rendered invisible and mute. Turning inward, the only place open to her, she began to paint at around age 12 and, through painting, retreated to a different world.
In November 2008, Braganza was declared "Montreal Woman of the Year" by the Montreal Council of Women, which cited her for her artistic endeavors and her humanitarian work with immigrant women.
Hear her as she relates her extraordinary story to Geeta Nadkarni for Radio Canada International's Roots project:
Braganza's acceptance speech before the MCW is here. It is a story of the transformational power of family, community involvement, and art.
Cheryl Braganza is many things. What she is no longer is invisible. Nor mute.
Braganza works with silk, batik, oils, and acrylics. Her Website is here. Take some time to look at her images, which are categorized by year(s) and thus document the artistic arc of her life during youth, marriage, motherhood, divorce, cancer, recovery, and human rights advocacy. She also can be found on the Saatchi Gallery.
A poet, Braganza has published Only Goodbyes; a dozen poems from the collection are here.
Braganza is Montreal's Regional Representative for the International Women's Writing Guild and a member of the Quebec Writers' Federation and the English Language Arts Network.
A committed human rights activist, Braganza works with the organization Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.