Painter Henry Munyaneza seems to be progressing in this profession. At the end of last year, he officially opened his Kacyiru-based art studio, Neza-H which aims to offer a platform for many potential artists to display their work, and train them to discover their unique style. He is currently preparing for a solo art exhibition, I Chose To Be Black slated for February 18, to February 25 at his art studio from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm. The artist stresses that the painting project was fueled by the hashtag Black Lives Matter, a global network that builds power to bring justice, healing, and freedom to black people across the globe. According to him, blacks have on many occasions been dictated by the western culture that they have adapted beliefs from the west that don’t even define them. He believes that many blacks have lost their identity in a mix of many things they watch or have learned to believe. “Our history as Africans was one that had values, social lives, and activities. But in a short time, it has all vanished due to colonialism. This has been the genesis of unhealthy comparisons, disrespect of our ethics and beliefs began,” Munyaneza stresses. He adds that in the process, a number of Rwandans squashed their creativity such as crafting their art expression in form of poetry, music, and visual art. Munyaneza notes that the art that is mostly portrayed is no longer showing the rich Rwandan culture. His art exhibition intends to unveil the potential of Rwandans to use their artistic talents and platforms to present African and Rwandan values, and inspire everyone not to hide or bury them because they illustrate who we are. The painter is optimistic that by epitomising the Rwandan, and African culture in his paints, future generations will have something to hold on to, and won’t struggle to find their identity. Another visual artist that is blooming is Romeo Niyigena. He is set to organise a solo art exhibition, The Obsession, at Indiba art space, Kimihurura, from February 10, to March 3. The exhibition is expected to highlight the living traditions of women, which undermined their potential, and rather show how women can be of great impact to the community if given the chance to partake in diverse areas, such as education, health, politics, and so forth. “In the African traditional society, women’s power was conveyed to men, and their beauty transferred to be mirrored in men’s eyes. Their confidence was viewed as a threat to men, which on many occasions, feared to shine their lights brighter. At times, they were denied to take part in major planning and communications. This was so wrong,” he expresses. He believes that African women are beautiful and unique which is why he depicts their beauty in portraits that are yet to display. According to Niyigena, black is beautiful, the reason why his exhibition is purposed to encourage African women to believe in their skin color, is because that’s how they can gain confidence in themselves. He detests the fact that most women have resorted to bleaching, a thing he refers to as a force fueled by low self-esteem.