The childhood memories of Briss, from Jassy, his home town in Romania, connect two contrasting worlds. Life in the large Jewish community of Jassy, instilled the Jewish culture deep into his being. Concurrently, Briss was exposed to the Christian world, rich with traditional Romanian art and the famous icons of Jassy, the former capital of Moldavia, recognized also as the cultural capital of Romania.
Sami Briss, born in 1929, paints a narrative of nostalgia. His work portrays childhood memories, in an atmosphere of harmony and joie de vivre. The dream like ambience of his paintings conceals a personal history of struggle with persecution and pogroms.
Briss immigrated to Israel in 1959 at the age of 29. After the death of his first wife in 1974 he moved to Paris, where he has lived ever since – still maintaining his strong connections to Israel while exhibiting frequently throughout Europe.
Fish and birds, the symbols of luck and abundance, combined with uniquely styled figures are his artistic trademark. They juxtapose the Jewish tradition with influences of Romanian Christian folk art, suggested by the use of gold leaf.
In the weave of times, these childhood memories acquire a mythical and universal status.