21-year-old visual artist, Eloise Irakarama, in collaboration with Envision Media Arts Collective, has organised SHE (The Saga of Her Emergence), a multimedia art exhibition featuring a series of surreal pencil portraits paired alongside thematic poetry verses, honouring what it means to be a woman. The exhibition kicked off on Friday night, November 19 at Envision gallery in Kicukiro District and will run until December 4. Speaking at the exhibition space, Irakarama said that SHE encompasses a collection of ten artworks that portray a woman in different varieties – from beauty to struggles, adding they are accompanied with a poem with every stanza describing every single artwork. According to her, the collection also aims to tap into the feminine psyche and create a raw connection with the viewer by delivering a visually and emotionally engaging experience. She revealed that she was inspired by people, especially women, imagining their figures for she recognises that women are the works of art, declaring that she can easily ponder on different ways to illustrate women by staring at their hair, face, shape as well as body. She noted that her uniqueness revolves around her use of graphite pencil to craft artworks which is not common to many visual artists in Rwanda. The self-taught artist who is also an IT student at the University of Kigali declared that she started drawing as a hobby when she was young and evolved to doing so professionally in August 2020 during Covid-19 lockdown. Since she had time, she thought of doing something big with her art, bought apt materials and started crafting her artworks for around a year which later birthed SHE. In the course of the exhibition, she is motivated to showcase herself to the world as a professional artist. Peter Lee, Founder and Director of Envision Media Arts Collective said that he was intrigued by Irakarama’s works because they portray her natural talent and interesting messages which lured his company to work with her in their first art exhibition in 2021. He declared that Irakarama’s artworks entails great technical quality and that she was able to capture different elements of emotions and has shown great level of creativity to express deeper meaning behind the works. According to him, Envision will keep showcasing Irakarama’s artworks in their gallery and promote her as an artist since SHE is also their first female solo art exhibition. The company is also motivated to promote other female artists from all creative backgrounds and help them pursue art as a career. Princess Umwali, one of the attendees of the exhibition said that she was fascinated by Irakarama’s artworks due to their uniqueness of bringing out the humour of women to the outside world and highlighting what a woman is capable of doing. She revealed that she specifically loved a piece called “Moon Fog” where the artist illustrates fear that a woman can grow in a fog but when she steps out of it and realises her worth, the fog becomes clear which compels her to embrace her strength and all she can do. She called upon people, especially women, to visit the exhibition and experience the beauty of messages Irakarama’s artworks demonstrate. The gallery is open on Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7p.m and Sunday from 12p.m to 4p.m. Eloise Irakarama addressing the attendees of the exhibition. Eloise Irakarama showcasing her portraits at the exhibition. Some of the artworks that make up the collection.