‘African Queens’, a solo art exhibition by visual artist Willy Karekezi, opened at the Heaven Restaurant in Kiyovu on Saturday.
The evening featured live painting sessions by Karekezi, an acoustic musical performance by Eli Hendrix, and auctioning of some of the exhibited works.
The exhibition is set around the open air dining area of the Heaven Restaurant, and Karekezi chose the medium of acrylic on canvas for the portraits that are set around the dining area.
Contrary to what the title of the exhibition seems to suggest, the artist went a little further than just the theme of women, incorporating other such familiar scenes- a gorilla here, or landscapes in the countryside.
Overall, however, women dominated. The artist curves out numerous creative sub themes around the theme of his exhibition, with some paintings depicting female siblings in a moment of bliss, women at home, with children, with chicken, market life, or simply women huddled around a newly born.
One of the crowing moments of the exhibition was the live painting session, when Karekezi took to the stage to paint on sight. Karekezi’s unusual painting style caused much suspense until the very last minute when the painting was complete.
Exhibition goers could only place wild guesses on what image he was painting as each stroke of his pallet made the piece even more seemingly abstract. It was not until he completed the piece and flipped it upside down that the portrait of a beautiful African woman effortlessly emerged. The beauty about live painting is that it has to be done in record time since it’s for show. Karekezi took about five minutes on the portrait that was later the first to be sold off by auction.
The artist revealed that the main purpose of the exhibition is to make people know that there’s something that women bring on the table –“that there is no family without a woman. I just wanted to talk about the socio-economic life of women, and the impact of what they do in the family. Many people thought today’s work would be only about the women. Of course it’s about women who are our mothers and mothers of the next generation and mothers of the whole nation. This exhibition is a summary of what they do but it goes beyond just women.”
Hopefully, his next stop will be Zimbabwe, where a friend has already extended him an invitation for October. The African Queens exhibition is on until September 12.