AS Rwanda joined the rest of the world to mark Women’s day last Saturday, local artist, Augustine Hakizimana celebrated and honoured women in a special way. Through art he showcased the achievements, trials and tribulations of women through art. The venue was Heaven’s Restaurant in Kiyovu.
Hakizimana’s beautiful pieces of art perfectly captured the theme of the exhibition in general, and the day in particular. The paintings on display were about the struggles of women in society as mothers and workers. There were a number of paintings that depicted women in everyday life-from domestic chores like fetching water, cooking, parenting and gardening to the modern woman who has to balance between these demands and work. Hakizimana, is the founder of Uburanga Arts Studio.
Ruth Niyonsaba, a local artist and a university student was impressed by the exhibition, stressing that art is a powerful medium which can be used to empower women.
Niyonsaba noted that women in Rwanda have made positive strides and artists, as the eyes of society, should show this through their creative work for the world to appreciate the distance Rwanda women have traveled and the much they still have to cover to rise to their full potential.
However, Niyonsabo decried the low number of women artists in Rwanda. Even talented women artists are hindered from taking on art as a profession because of the demanding roles they have as mothers.
Bruce Niyonnkuru of Ivuka Arts Center said artists should use their talents to teach society about the importance of gender equality. “In traditional Rwanda, women were so much undermined, but things are changing now. We as artists should be the catalysts to create awareness that all people, irrespective of gender were created equal.”