Kigali to host regional visual art forum

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Jean-Marie Vianney Munezero (pictured) is among local visual artists expected to take part in the 8th edition of East Africa Art biennale in Kigali. /File.

Rwandan visual artists have a reason to smile, as the regional arts market- East Africa Art Biennale, comes to Kigali for the first time.

The biennale is a forum, where visual artists from the East African region, showcase their recent art works alongside a few works from international guest artistes. The week-long forum will be launched at a grand opening in Kigali on February 12, at the Hotel Des Mille Collines.

Commonly known as EASTAFAB, the biennale is organised every two years by the East Africa Art Biennale Association, a non-profit and nongovernmental organisation established in Tanzania in 2003.

This is the 8th edition. It opened on November 2 2017, in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam.

From Dar es Salaam, the exhibition moved to Arusha, still in Tanzania, where it was staged from November 26 –December 4.

From January 20 -28, the exhibition was held in Nairobi, Kenya. For the first time since it was founded, Kigali will feature on the list of cities to host the event.

This year, the biennale brings together art works by more than 60 artists from eleven countries.

It is being organised under the ‘Moving Art Across East African Borders’ project following its launch in November 2017 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Thereafter, there will be a follow up art forum at the Goethe Institute in Kigali on Wednesday February 14 starting at 6:30 pm.

After Kigali, the art safari will head to Burundi where it will run from February 22-28 in Bujumbura.

The 8th edition of the East Africa Art Biennale attracted more than 200 applicants comprising both local and international visual artists based in the East African region.

Some of the art works on display at the exhibition include paintings, sculptures, print works, conceptual and contextual works and installations, video art, textile art, and photography.

However, it also includes a limited space for East African artists, who are based outside the region, foreign artists’ resident in East Africa, as well foreign artists whose art works relate to East Africa.

Other activities that have been lined up to spice up the festival include; poetry, dance, theater, comedy, and singing.

All exhibited artworks can be sold or not, depending on individual artists’ preferences. Participating artists that sell their art works will receive 80 percent of the proceeds from the organising committee.

EASTAFAB provides a room for artists not only to show their artworks but mingle and exchange ideas and expertise with other artists in the region and beyond.

According to the organisers, the goal of this Art safari project is to create a platform that will foster the spirit of cooperation among artists from different cultural backgrounds to work for a common good of meaningful regional integration, and cement the existing cultural integration in the area of visual arts.

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One of the art works exhibited during last year’s East Africa Art Biennale in Nairobi, Kenya. /Courtesy.

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