Jean-Marie Vianney Munezero has unveiled his 2016 pieces of paintings that artistically dissect societal problems with clinical precision. The dozen abstract, semi-abstract and realism artwork is on display at Ivuka Arts Gallery in Kacyiru.
His artworks call for order in the modern chaotic world, saddled with different problems created by human beings in their insatiable desire to control the wealth of the earth, leaving in its wake a tail of suffering.
The artist draws inspiration from nature and the sad phase of his childhood.
Munezero illustrates, through mix media piece, a group of birds circling freely around the hills. The unclipped wings of the birds are fluttering freely. This piece, he says, shows that all life in this world was created to be free; that each of us should use this freedom to scale any height, even though human beings have managed to curtail this free nature through various forms like self-gratifying laws which inhibit freedom.
His painting titled Numwanankundi, depicts a lonely man sitting forlornly on a dusty street. He is sitting down, his wrinkled chin resting in his hands, with his legs crossed. Tears are trickling down his eyes, and he is literally at the edge of death.
He explains that with this artwork, he wants to shock the consciousness of the noble human soul about the suffering that we experience in the world.
Munezero himself is not a stranger to suffering. His parents separated when he was only seven years old. And when his father deserted the family, the mother went to live with her parents, leaving him and his siblings to carry alone the burdens of life.
To live at that young age, he had to scavenge his neighbourhood for discarded pieces of materials like wires which he used to make toy cars, among other objects; and sold them for survival. At one point, Munezero says that he was rejected by his grandfather, who told him to go and look for his father. It was his emotional distance and exile from his family that pushed him to become a prodigious artist he is today.
One Direction Walkers, is another artwork on canvas depicting a group of people walking forward in one direction. They are happy people, young and old. They are headed to paradise, the “Promised Land”, where the grass is greener.
Amidst all this exuberance is one odd man who turns his back, like the biblical Lot’s wife and remains still in the shadow (the painting depicts this). But people just pass him, not bothered with his “rebellion.” They are moving to good life, the Promised Land, and only one person shouldn’t discourage them.
The painting shows another man standing, looking sympathetically at this lone ranger. Perhaps he’s asking himself why he has decided to rebel without a cause.
Munezero explains that there’s a reason behind this man’s recalcitrance to join the masses, and is not a typical case of a renegade to development.
“People always rush to new things oblivious of dangers that face them ahead. All they have in their minds is that new environment means happiness and bliss all through. It’s when they reach there that they realise they should have stayed behind,” he says.
This applies to those who rush to Europe and Middle Eastern countries, where people who manage to reach the promising destinations eventually wish they shouldn’t have made the journey
Don’t Live Alone is a mixed media painting of a family of five, who have been living in seclusion in the forest. Poverty is written on their faces. Some of them are half naked.
Munezero says of the artwork, “you can’t find happiness when you decide to estrange yourself from other people.”