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Nowe Harris-Smith

Temple Christian High School graduate, Nowe Harris-Smith, continued her string of artistic achievements when she won the top prize in the “Open Art Category in Painting” at the recent E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival, held in late 2012 at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.

A fortuitous occurrence resulted in Nowe making the decision to submit artwork to this prestigious national festival. “I didn’t decide to enter at first,” she explains. “I began drawing again this summer and a friend of my mother saw my work. He was also an artist and convinced me to enter. He told me I was very good.”

Once she committed herself to entering this competition, Nowe submitted three pieces of art work for exhibition at the National Art Gallery. Her unique self-portrait, “The Crayon Diaries,” emerged the winner in the “Open Art Category. “It was a portrait of myself I did entirely in crayon,” the 19-year-old artist explains. “It came out well and looked like paint. It was also the one I won the award with and sold.”
The other two art pieces she entered were almost as personal, and were likewise done using the medium of colored pencil. Nowe explains the details of these two other entries: “The second piece was a portrait of Angel Haze, a rapper I completely related to. Her lyrics and poems spoke to me so I decided to draw her in chalk pastel. I also write poems too so I drew inspiration from her. My final piece was ‘Free Lauryn’, a tribute to Lauryn Hill. She was also a prolific musician who encountered some problems this year. I decided to do a piece about it in colored pencil.”

Nowe, who graduated from Temple Christian High in June 2011, is very experienced in the genres of oil paint, water color and acrylic, but being the practical person she is, she made a conscious decision to utilize crayons this time. “I wanted all of my pieces to resemble paint without having to invest in it, hence their rich quality,” she says, a broad smile adding a sudden spark to her intense eyes.
A very unassuming and unselfish individual, Nowe’s reaction on learning of her success was a combination of immense surprise and excitement.  “When my mother brought me the invitation to the awards ceremony at Government House I was extremely nervous,” she says, smiling proudly at the memory. “After I read it I was shocked and very excited! I told all of my friends instantly. They showed extreme support which made me even happier.”

This feeling of joy and accomplishment that Nowe felt was a result of her recognition that this was a personal triumph for her as well as a victory for women artists. “At the ceremony when they called my name I was overjoyed,” she explains. “I was so happy my work finally got recognition. Female artists often go unrecognized and I was glad someone saw I had talent.”

The E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival is an annual fine arts event organized by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture. The 2012 edition of this festival commenced on September 28 and lasted for three weeks.

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