46 young Rwandans emerged victorious in the final auditions of Art Rwanda-Ubuhanzi, securing their spots in the much-anticipated grand finale with the date and venue set to be announced soon. The auditions were part of the 3rd edition of the competition which was launched on November 3, 2023. 181 selected youth from districts like Kayonza, Huye, Nyamasheke, Rubavu, Musanze, and Kigali,signed up for the audition that was held on February 1, in Kabuga. ArtRwanda-Ubuhanzi, launched in August 2018, is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Youth and Culture and Imbuto Foundation. The initiative aims to identify and nurture young artistic talents, transforming them into creative entrepreneurs. The nationwide talent search, spans nine categories, including Film Making, Photography, Digital Art, Acting and Drama, Dance, Fashion Design, Music, Literature, and Visual and Plastic Arts. ALSO READ: Inside Art-Rwanda Ubuhanzi showroom where talent is showcased The event saw, a distinguished panel of judges, including renowned figures like rapper Riderman, singer Alyne Sano, poet Junior Rumaga, producer Eric Aime Nsengumuremyi, filmmaker Clementine Dusabejambo, and fashion designer Angelique Gatarayiha, assessed the contestants during the three-minute presentations. The judges, who have been instrumental in the nationwide search for exceptional talents, set a strict criterion to determine who would advance to the grand finale. Among the winners, 10 excelled in music, eight in literature, seven in acting and drama, six in arts, four in fashion and design, four in filmmaking, one in photography, one in digital arts and others. In the lead-up to the final auditions, the selected contestants from the road trip auditions were engaged in a comprehensive boot camp to refine their skills and prepare for the final auditions, receiving dedicated training and skills development to enhance their projects and generate sustainable business solutions in their respective fields. The competition showcased various talents, with singers exhibiting unique creativity both modern and traditional, plastic artists portraying extraordinary talent in visual storytelling, film actors delivering captivating presentations and many other categories. One if the projects presented is ‘From Darkness to Light’, a film by Innocent Gisa Ntaganzwa which chronicles a woman’s experience during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, highlighting her rescue by the Inkotanyi. Joel Imbabarire also created two artworks, ‘U Rwanda Rutemba Amata n’Ubuki’ and ‘Nyir’icyerekezo cy’Ubuzima bwa Muntu’, within three hours. These pieces show how life’s challenges can lead individuals in diverse directions. Another artist presented an art piece of two fish one in water and a bottle of alcohol to highlight the harmful effects of alcohol. The message is to prioritize water over alcohol, aligning with the ‘Tunyweless' campaign. ALSO READ: Art Rwanda-Ubuhanzi contestants present final products ahead of grand finale Merville Ishimwe, a 22-year-old Gakondo singer specializing in Inanga, embraces a fusion of traditional inanga style, and contemporary tools to show his creativity. Ishimwe said that the genre still has dedicated fans however, some view it as an outdated style and is not prioritised. He believes that it is crucial to challenge this perception, emphasizing the need to protect and sustain it. Mireille Iradukunda a rapper skilled in drill and old-school rap, said her participation is a big opportunity to challenge stereotypes, especially for girls, encouraging them to believe in themselves and pursue their passion for rap. “They should believe in themselves.” Poet Junior Rumaga, a literature, music, and dance judge, noted that most music participants presented modern genres, yet dance is rich with a mix of modern, contemporary, and Gakondo styles. “This shows the importance of recognizing available opportunities. If one side doesn’t provide a chance, individuals can explore the other side to pursue their interests,” he said.