Harem was born in the small gold-rush town of Barberton on the eastern border of South Africa. With a rural childhood and the freedom only known to a farm boy, his mind was allowed to wander and create with complete abandon while nurturing his fine eye for detail and love of all things natural. His passion for exploration took him to remote parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe and far-flung Indian Ocean Islands where he absorbed inspiration from diverse local cultures.

His years in Kenya as a young apprentice to the Italian artist Armando Tanzini inspired his now very often monumental scale canvases and murals.