It was a family-like gathering as hundreds of arts enthusiasts thronged Inema Arts Centre in Kacyiru to attend an arts exhibition on Saturday.
The event that started at 6pm in the evening attracted people from diverse backgrounds but united by their love for beautiful African art.
According to Emmanuel Nkuranga, one of the founders of the arts centre and a skilled artist on his own, the exhibition was meant to bring the family of arts lovers together so that they can share ideas and interact with the artists.
“The intention was to create a weekend atmosphere for people to relax as they enjoy the beauty of Rwanda arts and culture. We will continue to organise more of such events in order to promote Rwanda cultural heritage not only for the current lovers of arts and culture but also for the posterity,” says Nkuranga.
He also said that art is a great way through which the country can promote its tourism. “The people who are here today are from different cultural backgrounds. We have Chinese, Japanese, Africans and Europeans. They have come because art has acted for them as a great stimulus to come, see and experience its beauty. The country can gain a lot if only it can do more to promote art as is evidenced by a mosaic of people from different backgrounds who are here today.”
Nkuranga noted that one sign of a healthy community is its simultaneous ability to preserve its culture, history and heritage while at the same time developing new forms of arts to suit present times.
Mucyo also of Inema Arts Centre and one of the exhibitors said that it normally takes an outsider to catalyse an identification of a beautiful arts object that the artist might take for granted.
“Through such gatherings, artists get to interact with potential customers and our pieces of art get to be critiqued. It’s through a critical second eye that an artist can improve on his work,” noted Mucyo.
He said that the progression of Rwanda arts is remarkable as many people from various backgrounds are coming to appreciate the country’s art, noting that it’s not only tourists that buy their pieces, but more and more Rwandans are coming to embrace their artwork.
He added that such exhibitions and using venues such as parks and open spaces, as places for arts and cultural expressions can be an effective way to integrate history and heritage into the everyday life experience.
There was a beehive of activity during the exhibition as different people were engaged in different activities. Both professional and amateur artists could be seen painting side by side on canvasses that were provided by Inema.
“This reminds me of my childhood. I liked painting when I was young, but didn’t take it seriously. I’m just re-enacting my dreams here,” said Jessica Uwase, a student in a local university as she stood before a tripod and painted a picture of an African woman.
And there was much more to see. The country’s flora and fauna were both displayed in paintings, collage and other different forms of art. The artists also brought out both traditional and modern themes as a number of artworks exhibited both the past and modern lifestyles.