INNOCENT NKURUNZIZA is a mixed median artist. He practices abstract painting, jewelry making, to using hand made papers to create artistic sculptures.
Nkurunziza discovered his artistic ability at the tender age of 8. Then, he used crayons and water paint to colour drawings. This practice propelled him to become a professional painter years later.
Now 22-years- old, Nkurunziza has specialised in abstract painting—a form of visual art where paint is used to create life images and impressions that are hidden on the canvas.
“The surrounding environment and different artists worldwide and locally inspire me to make abstract paintings. Painting artists like Stephen Garan’anga of Zimbabwe and my fellow local colleague I work with greatly inspire me,” Nkurunziza said.
Based at Ivuka Arts Studio in Kacyiru, he and other artists have found a haven where they can explore and develop their painting skills.
“I see Ivuka as a special university for Rwanda’s young painting artists. There is no other place around Rwanda where painting artists come together and do their work,” he explained, “actually by working together we explore new areas and ideas of art.”
For Nkurunziza, art is not just a hobby he takes lightly, he considers painting visual arts an important livelihood that he can use to both earn a living and also inform and educate people about Rwanda’s unique culture. His favourite day in the art world was on August 9, 2007 when he sold his first piece at the launch of Ivuka Arts.
“After this day, the soul and passion I had to make more pieces was irresistible and this passion has never burned out,” he explained.
This year alone, Nkurunziza has sold over 50 paintings and this is a good business for him. With many finished paintings on display at the studio, he continues to paint daily.
He says abstract painting is not so easy because it is not about how fast a piece is finished. He believes the secret lies behind being able to depict and pass on the information you want others to learn.
This young painter believes that anyone with talent can paint since practice makes perfect. His advice to young artists is that they should have the passion and love to paint.
Adding that, painting just to sell is not practice for true artists. What’s important is the soul and passion shown on every finished art piece.