The Haitian Cultural Legacy Collection is a privately owned collection of over 400 acrylic paintings, oil paintings, iron works and sculptures created by Haitian artists and collected by the late Dr. Jean Chenier Brierre and his wife Nicole Riboul Brierre. Since the 1940’s, Dr. Brierre and his wife collected works from talented Haitian artists to create a magnificent collection that tells the historic legacy of their home country, Haiti. As an avid art lovers who were passionate about their country, they believed that through art, the history and culture of Haiti could be shared with people of all nationalities.
This impressive body of work includes a variety of artists from the most well-known to amateur painters. Dr. Brierre and his wife collected this body of work through their sincere love of art which is why the Haitian Cultural Legacy Collection is so textured with an array of artists with diverse styles. The Haitian Cultural Legacy Collection is indeed a vivid depiction of life in Haiti. Through the colors, the styles, mediums and the talent of each artist represented, Haiti’s history, culture, religion, festival performance, mountainous landscapes, and its people can be shared with the world for generations to come.
When I was 13 years old, my mother told me that my grandfather said that he was afraid for my future because of the “lack of adversity” that he thought I would experience in my life. While this may have been a tad bit of a premature statement for someone my age, its validity was unwavering due to the source of the statement. My grandfather, Dr. Jean Chenier Brierre, who I affectionately referred to as “Papa”, was the epitome of resiliency. He was born in Dame-Marie, Haiti in 1915, and by the age of 13, both of his parents had died and he was forced to take care of himself and his sister. He fortunately recognized the value of education and excelled academically; despite having to borrow his classmates’ textbooks while they were sleeping due to his inability to afford his own. His academic excellence led him to earn degrees in science, philosophy, education, law and medicine from the University of Haiti. Upon deciding to pursue a career in medicine, he obtained a medical degree from the University of Montreal and completed his surgery residency at Yale University.
Hurricane Katrina forced our family to relocate to Shreveport and move in with my Papa. Having the privilege to live with him during my last three years of high school has arguably had the largest effect on the man that I am today, and I am eternally grateful for what he consciously and subconsciously gave to me during this period. In addition to his social and professional endeavors, he had many other passions; and many of these passions became passions of mine without me even realizing it. His thirst for culture, knowledge and new experiences was something that I had no idea was impacting me at the time; but as I grow, I frequently notice these roots of his ways sprouting out through my soul.
There is one common thread among all of my Papa’s aforementioned passions: the expansion of consciousness. Until the day he died, he was a compassionate soul that sought to acquire and share knowledge as much as possible. This objective is the quintessence of the Haitian Cultural Legacy Collection. The paintings within this collection serve as a multi-pronged inspirational and educational tool that shows the beauty of a country that is so often associated with disaster and poverty. And the beauty can be found not only in the actual paintings, but in the story and legacy of the man behind them. My Papa started this collection nearly 70 years ago, and it now serves as the most appropriate amalgamation of his ideals and passionately curious lifetime. As his only grandson, the responsibility of carrying on his legacy is exceedingly daunting; but I know that I am equipped for the task because of what he consciously and subconsciously instilled in me. I made numerous promises to him before he left this earth, and I believe that I am well on my way to keeping them. My hope is that this collection will be an eternal symbol of a beautiful country and a legendary man.
I love you Papa,