For talent to thrive, bearers must uphold the highest level of humility which allows them to stay grounded; ready to learn and improve their art, First Lady Jeannette Kagame has said.
Mrs Kagame was speaking to the 68 artists who made it to the grand finale of the inaugural Ubuhanzi youth forum at Kigali Convention Centre.
The First Lady committed to supporting talent development but also reminded present artists that it is up to them to put in the work, search for personal growth and work together to professionalize their respective industries.
“We are ready to provide the support you need to grow but you must be ready to put in the necessary work to become professionals” Mrs Kagame said.
Quoting President Paul Kagame during his address to artists, media and sports celebrities in May 2017, she added, “We want you to expand your boundaries and allow yourselves to learn and grow as people and the people around you. Have humility and the strength to exercise your talent and go beyond being a spectator on the sidelines.”
During the ArtRwanda-Ubuhanzi Youth Forum Series and Grand Finale, 69 finalists showcased their talent and artwork in plastic arts, dance and music, fashion, acting and drama, photography and cinematography and literature, as well as group projects.
Winners of individual category final prizes walked away with Rwf1 million and Rwf10 million for group projects.
The ArtRwanda-Ubuhanzi Youth Forum Series (YFS) also featured discussions and exchanges between youth and stakeholders, from the public and private sphere, on investing in the creative arts industry, nurturing relevant talent among youth in Rwanda and protecting their artwork as intellectual property.
According to Soraya Hakuziyaremye, the Minister of Trade and Industry, said that arts and creative industry can be a driving force to economic transformation if stakeholders invest in professionalism and excellence.
Hakuziyaremye also indicated how creative arts generates about $2.3 trillion every year but the industry is still struggling in Africa and specifically Rwanda spare for Nigeria where the industry generate about $800 million every year.
However, the Minister states that she is optimistic that the creative industry is taking shape in Rwanda and that the youth have “incredible” talent which will be one of the key sectors to boost the Made in Rwanda policy.
Her comments were echoed by Mrs Kagame.
Winners of the inaugural inaugural Ubuhanzi youth forum pose with their awards at Kigali Convention Centre yesterday. Courtesy.
“You are the very people who will inspire us to love what you do. Do it with excellence,” First Lady said.
“Mastering your art requires constant learning and practice, if you are a good actor, that shouldn’t stop you from learning something new that might improve your talent, in so doing you will be a great example to the people who look up to you,” she added.
First Lady also told artists of the public notion that artists lead a certain unpleasant lifestyle with all sorts of behaviors, trying so hard to impress their fans.
“We hear a lot but we also see some of you who are not walking well and we also know that it is not all of you. But it is up to you,” Mrs Kagame told artists, adding “to change that narrative. Be responsible people, be humble, be original and inspire the young ones who look up to you,” she said.
The legendary singer Mariya Yohana told Sunday Times that, “humility is the greatest attribute of any successful artist. In humility you learn but you also allow yourself to stay connected with your fans and the people in general. That gives you the opportunity to examine yourself and grow as a person too.”
Jacqueline Mukamurigo, 21, a high school graduate from Rulindo district and the winner of Rwf1 million in fashion category paid tribute to the organizers of ArtRwanda-Ubuhanzi projects for nurturing young talents.
“During the boot camp we were taught all the best tributes of a successful person in the creative arts industry, to stay focused, be willing to learn from others and be exemplary,” Mukamurigo said.
She added, “This project has really changed my life and I look forward to what I am about to become. I appreciate the First Lady and all those who thought about this activity to develop arts and creative industry in our country.”
Mrs Kagame also commended partners of The ArtRwanda-Ubuhanzi projects and urged stakeholders, especially the government to work closely with young artists and nurture their talents.
Sports and Culture Minister Espérance Nyirasafari, stated that the government is “committed” to working with these artists and ensure the progress of arts and creative industry in Rwanda.