Live sculpturing at artist Niyonkuru’s Ba&Ba Movement

Bruce Niyonkuru works on one of his art pieces. Courtesy .

Ba&Ba Movement is an upcoming live artistic performance by visual artist Bruce Niyonkuru, “Canda” . It is a collaborative project between the artist’s Kuuru Art Space, a visual art studio in Kiyovu, and Tuko Girls Arts, a girls-only arts collective, that was initiated by the artist in 2015.

The event is scheduled for today, April 5, at the University of Rwanda’s School of Science and Technology.

Ba&Ba is Kinyarwanda short-form for Bashiki na Basaza (sisters and brothers).

In an interview with The New Times, the artist said that he embarked on the project four years ago. Niyonkuru noted that he decided to stage the performance at this particular time, because the theme coincides with the 25th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. It will involve live sculpturing, with the artist walking/marching over a slab of wet clay that he has erected at the venue.

“I have built a 1 square meter block of wet clay and will be walking on it with a six year old girl in different movements. There will be slow movements, there will be running, and there will be crawling. So it will be like a demonstration performance,” he revealed.

The result will be a co-created sculpture capturing the steps of different generations of Rwandans walking together in unity in the context of the commemoration of the genocide.

“We are trying to create and exchange experiences.  As an artist I thought I could come up with something that can bring my community and my country together. This project aims to contribute to peace, unity, development and reconciliation in the country -something that we can share with our greater African family and the global humanity as the world is still full of hate and conflict between peoples that share the same background and environment. We should work hard to bring back that awareness to overcome our differences and realise that we share the same nature.”

Born in 1992, in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, Niyonkuru is among the generation of Rwandans born shortly before, during, or immediately after the Genocide –the Generation25, the demographic group, to which this year’s 25th anniversary commemoration has been dedicated.

Born November 1992 in Bujumbura-Burundi, the artist returned to Rwanda together with his family shortly after the genocide, and immediately fell in love with the art medium, particularly drawing and sculpting.

After several years plying his trade from home, he joined Ivuka Art Centre in 2010. There, he nurtured his artistic talent, learning from older, more experienced hands, and by 2013 had become a full time artist.

Three years later, along with two fellow artists, he founded Kuuru Art Space, located in Kiyovu. In 2015, he initiated an organisation called Imizi Girls Art, to offer a platform to young aspiring female artists. The organisation was later renamed Tuko Girls Art.


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