TNCC Graduate Donates Original Painting to Celebrate the College’s Diversity


Published: May 24, 2010

Having graduated from Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) on May 15, Najoua Benothmane leaves a piece of herself with the College. The Liberal Arts student is donating one of her original paintings, a depiction of a courtyard on the Hampton campus, to be displayed in the College’s library. A tribute to the diversity at TNCC, the acrylic and oil work was created as part of a class assignment in 2005. “I decided to donate this painting to TNCC to show my gratitude for the College and its wonderful faculty and staff [who were] always there when needed,” Benothmane said.

Benothmane is a native of Tunisia and moved to the United States from France in 1991. Her various cultural experiences contributed to her appreciation of TNCC’s diverse student body, faculty and staff. She created the work in a courtyard behind Moore Hall on the Hampton campus and transferred the serene feeling of the area to the canvas with a portrait of a bench surrounded by trees filled with vibrant-colored leaves. “The trees symbolize the many departments on the campus and the leaves [are] the students. The different colors of leaves represent diversity and harmony on campus,” she said.

Benothmane’s passion for art dates back to her childhood. Her creativity allows her to express ideas in universal mediums that are not hampered by language barriers.

“As a Tunisian-French-American, and a person speaking five languages, I believe that art is also a language. It enables people to communicate, using images instead of words,” she said.

Benothmane enrolled at TNCC in 2004 and earned two degrees, one in International Studies and another in Foreign Languages. She is interested in French and art education and will continue her studies at The College of William and Mary. She nurtures her passion for educating others by working as a substitute teacher for York County Public Schools. Benothmane also teaches and volunteers at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center.

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