So often we hear about unfair assumptions and impossibly-high expectations not being met when you meet your heroes for the first time; both of which should be expected. After all, the man is not the mark he makes: a writer isn't the words he writes and an architect is not the building he designs.

Earl Etienne was a hero to many people here and overseas. He was a shining example of not only a world-class artist but the proverbial heights to which a Dominican can ascend with perseverance and a positive attitude.

As an artist myself, Earl's work has always been an inspiration. He created art from the best that this island has to offer: Our nature, our rich culture, our history, our "isle so rich and rare" were displayed so vibrantly that they'll affect this society far beyond the span of our own lives. Earl's every piece exudes some quality that is uniquely Dominican yet universally accessible.

They say you should never meet your heroes. I'm glad I met mine.

Thankfully, when I met Earl, a couple years ago, he was every bit as jovial and positive as the person I imagined who could create these works of art and he was many times as humble. In the short time that I knew him, he gave me sage advice, recognised my work, and encouraged me to develop further. He passed on to me art supplies for the price of a promise that I would use them to do great work. I will try. He was truly a mentor and a friend.

Thank you for your wise words and your spirit, uncle Earl. We, the next generation of Dominican artists, will try our best to carry on your legacy and make a few of our own.

Edward Asquith Collins