Art conversations and exhibitions before the gender equality era revolved around the works of Michelangelo, the great Van Gogh and Picasso’s paintings, but thanks to the misogynist society at the time, there wasn’t enough room to lift female visual storytellers to their shrines, “no room at the top” or so they say. While it seems like empowering women or merely acknowledging their work was a foreign concept in the 1800s, times have changed and art made by women is being given the recognition it so deserves. In no particular order, here are six visual artists to look out for: Teta Chel Micheline Teta, popularly known as ‘Teta Chel’, was 12 years old when her relationship with art began, sketching and evolving till she started doing it professionally in 2021. Teta has hosted two solo exhibitions and been a part of three group exhibitions so far, and her art comprises mostly abstract paintings, often coupled with a poetic caption that she uses to shed light on sensitive topics, like mental health, that up until very recently, had stigma attached to them. Christine Niyonsenga Christine Niyonsenga was intrigued by art at a very young age and started sketching to improve the quality of what she does. Niyonsenga draws with a pen and has created intricate pieces like “Say No”. On the surface, the piece demonstrates a girl declining money and a phone, but in reality, it sheds light on the behavioural patterns of older men, well within their 40s and 50s, financially facilitating younger girls for sexual favours and companionship. Niyonsenga started publicising her work in 2022. She is a resident of Musanze District. Shemsa Neza Shemsa Neza started art professionally in 2017, however, prior to that, it was merely an escape, one she shared with no one. Neza’s art often explores themes like the social lives of women and amplifies their success and struggles, as well as occasional nature-centric pieces. Neza has taken part in three exhibitions so far and although she’s still quite adamant about sharing her work on social media, the few times she does have sparked important conversations that resonate with multitudes. Luladey Teshome For Luladey Teshome, art is the reason for all existence, and finding creative ways of self-expression has shaped her life significantly. Teshome’s art is depicted in different forms such as paintings, sketches, and fashion design. Her work is often paired with the tagline “deeply rooted” which has a literal and figurative meaning. Teshome’s creative process ranges from her state of mind and surroundings to her African heritage which is embedded in most of her work. She has been an art enthusiast since her childhood days and is currently planning a solo art exhibit. Diane Ishimwe Diane Ishimwe attended Nyundo School of Art and Music in pursuit of a future in the creative industry, and it is then that she started creating art professionally. Through her art pieces, she explores themes like environmental conservation, mental wellness and other various social issues. Ishimwe draws her inspiration from success stories and journeys with happy endings. She has taken part in several exhibitions since she embarked on art from a professional standpoint in 2018. Angella Ilibagiza Angella Ilibagiza started art professionally in 2019, however, her artistic gift was obvious from the moment she first held a pencil, she was told. Ilibagiza’s art explores themes of gender, women’s rights as well as gender-based violence. Her inspiration to create is derived from how intrigued she is by women’s rights and everyday lives, and the art serves as an outlet to express the issues that appeal to her as a feminist and women’s rights advocate. Ilibagiza’s most recognised art piece to date is titled ‘Tubavuge Amazina’ and it is a portrayal of over 80 names of women that have been murdered by men, created in an effort to create awareness and fight against femicide.