On a chilly Saturday evening, art enthusiasts from both Rwanda and beyond gathered to witness the artistry of Epa Binamungu at his latest exhibition, 'Prosperity.' This event showcased not only the beauty of art but also the growing passion for it among Rwandans. Contrary to the stereotype that only corporate events start on time, the event commenced punctually. By 6 pm, the communicated start time, attendees were already streaming into the venue, Hôtel des Mille Collines Kigali, on August 19. ALSO READ: Epa Binamungu: Art is a language that connects us all As groups of people gathered around Binamungu, seeking enlightenment on the messages conveyed by his paintings, they sipped wine and nibbled on snacks. Individuals were observed taking moments to admire the art pieces and draw their own interpretations. Remarkably, amidst the chatter of attendees conversing and appreciating the art, the only sound was the exchange of thoughts and emotions, not music. Who would have thought that art exhibitions could foster new friendships and strengthen existing bonds? The ambiance of the event made it happen. The evening was a blend of laughter, connections, learning, and deep emotions. Despite the clamor for his attention, Binamungu graciously shared some insights about his passion for art that was evident in the unexplainable expressions that lit up his face as he spoke about it. He revealed that 'Prosperity' had been a theme he had contemplated for some time, and he marveled at the richness of this theme. “I chose ‘Prosperity’ as a theme because it resonates with everyone, as we all think about it when embarking on projects, contemplating the future, and considering our families and everything else. For me, painting is the ultimate means of expressing these ideas.” Translating ideas from the mind onto canvas is challenging, according to Binamungu. It necessitates a deep understanding of what to paint, the choice of colors, composition, and the intended message. ALSO READ: Binamungu’s ‘Moving Forward’ solo art exhibition As I painted, I envisioned that anyone who gazes upon my work would see prosperity. His inspiration came from various sources, including development, education, Rwandan culture, and more. Binamungu emphasized that prosperity is a journey, one that starts from one point and progresses to another. Though he initially planned to create 55 art pieces, he only completed 22 due to his commitment to teaching young artists. This remarkable achievement took him three months. The exhibition will run for three months, during which he will introduce new themes every month. Binamungu is on the verge of celebrating 50 years in the art world, a journey he describes as both stimulating and joyous. “These 50 years have been filled with experiences and an in-depth exploration of human nature.” He explained that being an artist entails not only translating your thoughts onto paper or canvas but also ensuring that the audience comprehends your message. Throughout his career, Binamungu's work has aimed to educate and uplift humanity, provoking change. When he begins a painting, it's a journey of pleasure and fun that extends to what others can understand and resonate with. He encourages people to engage with art, learn its language, and appreciate it by attending exhibitions and seeking deeper meanings beyond what meets the eye. Understanding the essence of art means evoking emotions; without emotions, there can be no interpretation. When asked about retirement from art, Binamungu firmly stated that it's impossible because every new idea that sparks in his mind ignites an irresistible urge to express it through his art. Sarah Umubera, a student and first-time art exhibition attendee, expressed no regrets. She found the event emotionally evocative and intellectually stimulating, imagining the artist's creative process. Umubera, who recently started painting to combat boredom and foster creativity, believes that the future of art in Rwanda is bright, thanks to the creative spirit of the people and growing support for the arts. Winnie Shema, a sales executive and a repeat visitor to art exhibitions, praised the way art brings color and life to the world in intricate detail. A particular painting titled 'Together We Can' stood out for her. She interpreted it as a powerful symbol of unity, where people connect irrespective of their race, size, or academic background, creating transformational change. Shema encourages Rwandans to set aside time to attend exhibitions, as they offer unique perspectives and opportunities for self-reflection.