Singer Angele Smith exposes his other artistry
If the name Angele Smith came up in a conversation, right away people would remember him as the Rising Stars alumnus who has been making a big name for himself in the local and international music industry. The man, who was born in Westmoreland, is also known for his energetic and engaging stage presence.
But on Saturday, April 27, Smith unveiled a side of himself that many people are not aware that he has. On that day, he hosted his first solo art exhibition inside Sts Peter and Paul Conference Hall at 120 Old Hope Road in St Andrew.
It was billed as a day of art, dancing, drumming, poetry/dub poetry and book reading, and live performances. He also had items from his jewellery line, Angele Smith Accessories, for sale. It was a merger of the performing and the visual arts.
Smith said he has been drawing from he was about three or four years old, his canvas being dirt into which he etched his images, as he could not afford paper and other materials. He said he could not explain his love for art, it was just something that he felt like doing. He also made toys with clay from his yard.
The quality of his work at the primary-school level, he said, was almost professional, but at that time he did not envision art as a career. He loved it, and wanted to do it, but was discouraged by people who told him that it was a waste of time. And though he could sing, art was what he wanted to do more than singing. Sometimes, he would do both at the same time.
The moment when he embraced the power of art, he said, was when he was beaten by a teacher for drawing something that the teacher believed was too adult. Yet, at high school, he received much support from an art teacher who was also his mentor.
The biggest challenge was his inability to afford art material.
At Godfrey Stewart High school, Smith saved his lunch money to buy material, for art was stuck in his heart. Along the way, he would have his tools and materials stolen, several times, but theft could not stifle his artistry. He has created many pieces over the years, and he now wants the world to know of them.
FIRST SOLO SHOW
However, the show on April 27 was not the first time Smith participated in an art exhibition; it was his first solo. In October 2008, he was the featured new artist at the Bolivar Gallery in a show billed as ‘Crossover – Music and Art’, in which he displayed about eight pieces. Smith can be described as a surrealist, who has produced thought-provoking, Afrocentric works of art. Engaging conversation pieces they are.
The jewellery side of his Angele Smith Accessories business arose from his experiences when he went on musical tours abroad. He would see artistes going around selling their pieces arbitrarily, and he who has always loved jewellery, got an idea to do the same.
In 2016, Smith decided to make some pieces, bought some tools, turned to YouTube tutorials, and for about six months, he was consumed by making such. He recalled once selling about 30 pieces at his regular job.
His vast array now consists of items made mainly from natural materials, and includes necklaces, earrings, pendants, etc. The line also includes T-shirts, with lyrics from his songs emblazoned on them.
“If I can’t basically get sponsorship to do music, which I love so much, and is like a problem, why not sell some painting, some jewellery, put on a show to push the art, push the music,” is how he explained the motivation behind his first solo event, where he performed some selections from his upcoming EP.
And from all account, he said, the event “was a success”.