For 10 years, Innocent Nkurunziza dreamed of having an exhibition that was out of the ordinary, outside of the usual exhibition gallery walls. One that would not be a passing fad, but something he would leave as a permanent seal between his artistry and his prime source of inspiration, nature. Hence, after acquiring a piece of sloped land, cut into a series of successively receding flat surfaces, the idea for his dream exhibition, 'On Terraced Earth,' came to pass. The exhibition, curated by art historian Talia Lieber, took place on an uninhabited space, garnished with the art pieces, in the western part of the country, on the other side of Musanze District’s Lake Ruhondo. Nkurunziza painted and sculpted elements of the surrounding landscape using natural materials such as rocks, clay, and tree bark to create the works on display. He explained that this would be his artistic way of drawing attention to the beauty of natural forms and the importance of landscape conservation, in addition to attracting tourism to the place. The same way cultivating on terraced land increases production and prevents soil erosion, Nkurunziza believes that creativity, too, can be cultivated in a way that sustains the earth, hence the exhibition. Some of the artworks were custom made at/or for the site, and are directly installed in the ground, atop the terraced peninsula with views of Rwanda's five volcanoes in the near distance. For example, 'River,' a three-dimensional form reminiscent of a winding waterway, 'Volcano I-V,' monumental sculptures made of decomposed bark cloth that mirror the neighboring volcanic mountains, and 'Spiral Stones,' stones collected by the artist from hilltops in and around Musanze and arranged into spiral patterns. As part of the exhibition, the attendees got to taste different dishes by Chef Tamsir Ndir from Senegal. Who is Nkurunziza? Nkurunziza, born in 1986, is a pioneer of Rwandan contemporary art. Born and raised in Uganda, his family relocated to Rwanda when he was still a teenager in 1997. Where he helped to establish the first Rwandan art collective in 2007, Ivuka Arts. From a young age, Nkurunziza had already started polishing his skills in painting, sculpturing, and designing jewelry in an abstract expressionist style. I'm most inspired by the dynamic rhythm of nature, people, colors and texture within the world, he shared. Art, he believes, should be shared but defined and felt differently. So when people ask him about the meanings behind his mostly abstract artworks, he always replies, take a deep breath and don't think about it. Open your spirit and feel what it's saying to you personally. He has participated in numerous local, national, and international solo and group exhibitions, including those in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany. Such as 'From Rwanda with Love', 'Under the African Sun' , 'Africa On My Mind' and 'Afrique Nouvelle Vague' among others. Building a legacy Nkurunziza and his brother, fellow painter Emmanuel Nkuranga, also co-founded Inema Art Center, a space for orphans with artistic talents. Young people from Inema Art Center and others, should all jump to this. We're putting together a curriculum that will serve as a guide for all interested contributors, he explained. It is a work in progress, and various artists are welcome to collaborate and have their ideas displayed here as well, he said. This is bigger than me, he went on, and it shouldn't end with me.