In the capital of Rwanda the art scene is flourishing. Many young Rwandans group together and open an art studio. Their paintings are mostly about the culture.
In the picture above you can see Tony Cyizanye, my favorite painter who I used to visit in Kigali to check out his latest art works. At that time, he was part of the Ivuka Arts collective. The scene he was painting in the picture is a wedding ceremony; you can see people dancing and playing instruments. Supported by a scholarship he is currently studying “Art and Design” in Texas, US.
Tony was born in Bujumbura, Burundi, but moved to Rwanda when he was still young. He comes from a family of artists: His father and uncles were musicians, his aunty a fashion designer, and another uncle a painter. Being surrounded by the art and music inspired his passion and dedication to his art, he says.
Tony Cyizanye is the director of Yego Arts Studio that currently counts ten well-established painters among its membership. He founded the studio in January 2013 using money he had earned from the sale of his own paintings. He later organised a group of local artists and community members to remodel an unused building in the Nyarutarama neighbourhood into a professional art studio.
It aims at creating a vibrant, self-sustaining community of established visual artists in Rwanda, and to create new avenues for Rwandans to use the arts as a means of healing and generating sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their children. His work has been exhibited in the US, the UK, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, and Rwanda.
For appreciating the courage of an artist more, you have to keep in mind, that parents in Rwanda want their children to become doctors, engineers, or computer scientists. Social or art studies are lacking public interest. Before thinking of what you would like to do, you have to think of how to nourrish your family.
I ask him, if more Rwandese or foreigners buy his art work. He laughs, then says: “Rwandese is not good for buying my arts but some Rwandese starting to buy my paintings. I was very surprised to see a commission work for Rwandese. I was happy. Foreigners they like my works, they come from all over the world: USA, South Corea, Germany, Australia, Sweden, UK, Gabon, Nigeria, Italy, France, Belgium, …”
Art work from the Ivuka Art collective (2012)
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