It was fanfare at the Kigali Convention Centre on Saturday, December 15, as 30 finalists of the first edition of ArtRwanda-Ubuhanzi converged for the grand finale that was attended by First Lady Jeannette Kagame, cabinet ministers and other officials.
Initially, thousands of hopefuls turned up for the regional auditions, but in the end, the five-member panel of judges picked only 587.
After the regional auditions, there was a pre-selection exercise in Kabuga, at which the judges identified the final 70 that would go to the boot camp.
The contestants were competing in six different categories, namely Plastic Arts, which involves illustrators, painters and sculptors, ‘Dance and Music,’ which brings together singers, instrumentalists and choreographers, fashion, which targets budding and creative designers, ‘Acting and Drama,’ a section of comedians and actors, ‘Cinematography and Photography,’ specifically for directors and cartoonists and, ‘Literature’, which looks out for authors and poets.
The six categories are considered by the Ministry of Sports and Culture as the sub components under the creative arts industry and was open to Rwandan nationals aged 18-35, with a demonstrable artistic talent.
The finale introduced a new panel of judges. The judges for projects pitching were Chantal Munanayire, Head of Creative Arts chamber At the Private Sector Federation, Grace Mugabekazi , advisor to the Minister of Youth, Emmanuel Nshizirungu, and from DOT Rwanda.
On the other hand, judges that determined winners for the individuals talents were; film actor and director Jones Kennedy Mazimpaka, Ladislas Ngendahimana, Secretary General of RALGA, Jacques Murigande (Mighty Popo), head of Nyundo School of Music, Linda Mukangoga, the co-founder of Haute Baso, Gaël Vande Weghe, Co-Founder Illume Creative Studio, and Pascal Bushayija for the Plastic Arts.
The judges all admitted to a stiff competition, as all the contestants were good.
Nonetheless, the competition saw individual winners from each category walk home Rwf1 million richer, while three group categories bagged Rwf10 million as seed capital for their projects.
Contestants of ArtRwanda-Ubuhanzi wait for the announcement of the 2018 winners at the packed venue. Courtesy photos.
There were six individual winners, one from category.
The winners were; Maximilien Muhawimana in the category of Plastic Art, Jean Pierre Shyaka for the category of Music and Dance, Jacqueline Mukamurigo for the fashion category, Annuarite Uwumukiza for the category of acting and drama, Jean Christian Munezero for cinematography and photography, while Carine Maniraguha won the literature category.
The three winning categories were; fashion, photography and cinematography, and literature.
Other than the awarding ceremony, guests were entertained by individual performances by all the contestants who showcased their craft, while each of the categories pitched their group projects, pledging to provide youth employment and exposure.
Local artiste and medical doctor, Tom Close and Gratien Niyitegeka, a local comedian demonstrated their progress and challenges in the industry.
The First lady and chairperson of Imbuto Foundation, as well as other dignitaries pledged their support to young exceptional talents.
“I refuse to accept that we lack people of exceptional talent. We are ready to provide our support but you must be ready and willing to put in the work,” the First lady told the youth.
She urged artistes to behave responsibly, focus on education and strive to be the best they can be instead of engaging in indecent acts, citing singer Tom Close, as an example of a successful musician who has managed to focus on his medical career and family, and maintaining his art as well.
Art Rwanda-Ubuhanzi was launched on August 24, with nationwide auditions that took organisers and a panel of five judges to six different sites representing the four provinces plus the City of Kigali.
The initiative is a talent search competition and a project of Imbuto Foundation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, and the Ministry of Sports and Culture.
It aims at identifying and supporting young and talented Rwandans within the creative arts industry, help them nurture their creative talents to reach their full potential and create a positive impact in the creative and socio-economic development of the country.