Richard Karekezi is an upcoming paint artist who believes art is life and without it, nothing makes sense.
The 24 year old artist is based at Ivuka Art Studio’s in Kacyiru, a suburb in Kigali. For Karekezi, art is not just about painting but it’s a part of his mind that is real and alive.
“I love art more than anything else. Life is art, I live in the world of art and I see art in everything,” Karekezi passionately said.
For the young artist, being optimistic about everything is what makes him paint the way he does. Looking at the good side of everything that would ordinarily be considered bad, is what Karekezi insists on doing—thus his different art styles.
He has specialised in the semi-abstract medium of painting where explores various life aspects in series of paintings that create a story. All this, e does with unique natural materials like charcoal, tea leaves, paper, stones, plant leaves as well as paint.
The ‘Night Moves’ series
In these series, Karekezi creates individual paintings that tell bits of a story. When these are put together, series are created- just like movie series.
In the ‘Night Moves’ series, he uses charcoal as a medium to create a story that depicts the night life in Kigali City. Here he focuses on the music, dancing, drinking as parts of the social night life.
Karekezi was inspired to use this style after an experience at his home when he accidentally poured charcoal on a wet painting as he tried to light a charcoal stove.
“I remember I was so mad at the fact that I had destroyed my finished piece. However, as I sat devastated looking at the whole mess, I noticed that charcoal was stuck on the wet paint and certain forms were created, only difference was that they were covered in charcoal and not colourful paint,” explained Karekezi.
This was where the journey begun for the young artist. So far he has sold them like hot cakes.
The ‘Tea Table Family’ series
Other than these, the ‘Tea Table Family’ series are a creation where he uses tea leaves as a medium in his art pieces. In these series he emphasises the role of every member in the family.
In these series there are five pieces of art that represent a family. The kettle represents a father who feeds the family; the cups are a mother who nourishes the children who drink from her.
The flasks and jugs represent uncles and aunties who visit and entertain the family and who can also take care of the children if parents absent.
Though he loves painting, Karekezi says this profession comes with its share of challenges. Apart from the expensive raw materials, he said that some people’s attitudes are discouraging.
“Rwandan’s in particular, still need to appreciate art in its different forms and styles. People need to know that everyone has talent that needs to grow. As artists we need to be encouraged and not put down,” he said.
However, he believes that anyone can be a paint artist as long as they have the passion within them. By using this painting skill, Karekezi believes he can teach and inspire others who do not think they can make it in life most especially, the youth.
“Youth are easily influenced by circumstances around them that lead them to act wrongly. I urge the youth to try painting as a productive way of using their energy and at the same time earn a living,” the young artist said.
Karekezi has developed his talent over the years and said the encouragement he got from his primary school teachers, parents and friends is what has brought him this far as a paint artist.