Birasa, Nzamwita win unity and reconciliation visual art competition

Contestants display their certificates alongside NURC’s Fidele Ndayisaba. Photos by Eddie Nsabimana

Bruno Birasa,  19, and Anais Nzamwita, 15, on March 12, emerged winners of the visual arts competition, after their paintings were selected as the most creative and relevant to the theme; ‘I have a responsibility to in building Unity and Reconciliation among Rwandans.’

Held in Kigali, the competition aimed at promoting of unity and reconciliation. It was organised by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), bringing together different young budding talents from the visual art sector, who showed their creative skills through cartoon, painting, drawing, symbol/Logo, graphic design and posters among other creative art works.

Anais Nzamwita receives a dummy cheque worth Rwf100,000, from NURC’s Ndayisaba (left), after winning the visual arts competition, this week. 

The contest also gave participants full rein to explore their imagination and creativity, with their artwork carrying messages that promote unity and reconciliation among Rwandans, national identity, beauty of Rwandan nature(flora and fauna) and people, uniqueness of Rwandan culture as well as peace and prosperity in Rwanda.

Contestants competed in two categories, namely professional visual artistes and students from six schools, where each province was represented by at least one school. Schools include Lycee Notre Dame de Citeaux and Green Hills Academy in Kigali City, Groupe Scolaire

St. Aloys Rwamagana in Eastern, Groupe Scolaire Officielle Butare in Southern Province and Ecole Secondaire St Vincent and TTC Rubengera, which represented Northern and Western Province respectively.

Contestants at the competition. 

In the category of professional visual artists, Birasa’s artwork earned him a cheque of Rwf 500, 000 after overcoming tough competition from first runner-up Patrick Amizero and second runner-up Serge Niyonsaba who took home Rwf300, 000 and Rwf200, 000 respectively. The top 8th finalists (from 4th to 8th), received Rwf100, 000 each.

Meanwhile, Nzamwita, 15, from Green Hills Academy, came top in the students’ category, winning a cash prize of Rwf100 000, ahead of Callixte Bizimana (2nd) from TTC Rubengera and Beni    Kase from Green Hills Academy (3rd) who completed the top three walking away with cash prize of Rwf75, 000 and 50, 000 while the other five contestants were awarded Rwf30 000.

Birasa currently co-owns an art gallery, Birasa Art Gallery, and is positive the prize is a motivation for him to do even better in his budding career.

“This my first prize in over the past three years since I joined the art industry. I had plenty of art works talking about the promotion of unity and reconciliation among Rwandans and it is a pleasure that I picked the winning one. I am so proud to be the winner in what was my very first time in the competition. Actually, I thought I can use my talent to educate Rwandans about unity and reconciliation after what happened in the past and I can keep doing more artworks in future related contest,” he said.

For Nzamwita, the competition was a platform to let her voice out through her drawing and believes Rwandans will understand the message behind her art work.

Birasa (right) was among the winners.

“I am really overwhelmed to win this prize. When I heard about the competition, I just felt like I can try because I have been doing well in this at school level. The past of our country inspired me to do such an artwork and I immediately learned that I had a story to tell through my drawings when the competition came,” she said. 

Fidele Ndayisaba, the NURC Executive Secretary said the youth have plenty of stories to tell as their contribution to Unity and Reconciliation among Rwandans and revealed that more competitions will be organized to give them a chance to showcase their talents.

“The competition was not only about winning prizes but also a test to show how far their contribution is in promoting unity and reconciliation and what they need to do to keep that momentum using their talents in visual arts,” Ndayisaba said.

Arts are a way to evaluate the background they have learned about Rwandan past and what they want to share with the society. Visual arts speak, illustrate and are easy to read the messages from them and we believe the youth can use them to preach unity and reconciliation,” he added.

A contestant presents his art work during the competitions.

The winning art works are now a property of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, which will use it to educate people about unity and reconciliation.