Now and then: Rwanda's story told through art

Rwanda's arts and crafts sector has recently received more support from the Government, especially through the Ministry of Trade and Industry. To this end, many artists in the country have moved to build a career in the industry as it increasingly proving to be a sustainable source of income.
Anne Holmes, 2nd right, poses with the art students next to the main picture of the exhibition. (Courtesy photo)
Anne Holmes, 2nd right, poses with the art students next to the main picture of the exhibition. (Courtesy photo)

Rwanda’s arts and crafts sector has recently received more support from the Government, especially through the Ministry of Trade and Industry. To this end, many artists in the country have moved to build a career in the industry as it increasingly proving to be a sustainable source of income.

Among these artists is the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) arts and design class that held its very first exhibition, dubbed Now and Then, at The Office in Kiyovu, Kigali last Friday.

After a downpour, a fairly sizeable crowd, including the expatriate community in Kigali, built up at the exhibition to give moral support to the young artists. The chilly evening didn’t stop revelers from showing up at the event and the crowd gradually grew.

The students showcased paintings and crafts work that included weaved table mats, bags and baskets, among others. These art works were very reflective of the evening’s theme Now and Then, as they gave a historical comparison of Rwanda today and in the past.

The most captivating piece was a group painting by the class behind the theme Now and Then. It portrayed the developments of Rwanda overtime in the years in infrastructure, changes in the lifestyle of Rwandans, a shift from the use of traditional tools, and reflected the global green campaign which Rwanda has embraced.

Marius Kamugisha, the class representative, said: “I am driven by passion in this field, and being our very first exhibition, I am delighted about the feedback and to have a few of our art pieces sold.”

Asked what inspired the theme, he said: “Rwanda is a unique society with an equally unique story and a reflection of how far we have come as a country makes me feel like thumping my chest with pride.”

Their English lecturer, Ann Holmes Norgen is the brains behind their first ever art exhibition. “It was intended to help them build a profile, give them exposure and help them network…the beauty about it all is that it is reflective of the society they come from” said Ann.

As many revelers walked around viewing the paintings, others entertained themselves with foosball as they munched away snacks and drinks.

John Stever, one of the revelers and managing director of The Office, a co-working space, welcomed the idea of the exhibition

“Our co-working space is also used to hold events such as these and I am delighted the event has been quite a success despite the rain,” he said.

 

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