Ivuka Arts Studio and its coming of age

Emmanuel Mutuyimana talks about the art pieces at Ivuka Arts Gallery in Kigali. / Sam Ngendahimana

For over a decade, Ivuka Arts Studio has revitalised Rwandan culture, arts, and education through painting, photography, and cultural performance.

It was founded in 2007 by Collin Sekajugo with two objectives; to transform people’s lives and educate the public through visual arts, and advance Rwandan artists.

Ivuka Arts Studio is a union of nine artists in painting (drawn images), sculptures (statutes made from trees or soil) and crafts (cultural design artworks). Ivuka opened shop as both the first open studio, where local artists work together and a gallery space where their finished artworks are displayed.

Located in Kacyiru Sector, Gasabo District, the studio has one of the most talented and artistic young men.

Additionally, the studio organises art workshops and runs community programmes, like Rwamakondera, a children’s dance troupe, among others.

According to Patrick Nizeyimana, the managing director at Ivuka Arts Studio, their primary goal is to promote culture and bring esteem to Rwandan youth. 

“Of course art is a great talent but we chose not to primarily make money from it, but raise national pride and develop culture first. Then money will come later,” he says.

Visiting the art studio, you are introduced to a room of paintings in all sizes, sculptures, then to rooms full of handbags, clothes, necklaces, all of which depict Rwandan traditional designs.

Emmanuel Mutuyimana, one of the young artists at the studio, says: “We get a large or small number of visitors based on seasons. In summer, the number goes up because that’s when most tourists visit Rwanda.”

Daniel Gitu was is a foreign visitor we found at the studio. He told The New Times that he enjoys this kind of artwork and that he wishes more African countries can adopt a culture like this to make known their own products.

Ivuka Arts Studio has also participated in various competitions nationally, like Kigali Street Art Festival, Kids Summer Art Camp, as well as international exhibitions such as Via del Mondo in Holland and the British Angel exhibition, among others.


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