There are very many good things that have evolved in Rwanda, especially in the arts. Once upon a time, there was no honor in describing oneself as an artist or an artist, it was frowned upon.
Juicy professions were expected to be doctors or engineers, but an artist with his brush and overall? It was definitely no. No one was expected to make a living as a stand-up comedian or an actor, dancers or poet.
But that now has all changed and Kigali’s art scene is growing vibrant day-by-day. There are two things to thank that for; exposure to foreign culture via travel and Ecole d’Arts in Nyundo Western Province.
The art school that was mainly dedicated to plastic arts and sculpture has now incorporated music. Today its first graduates are creating waves on the music scene, even impeccably backing up foreign musicians on tour.
One sector that has failed to grasp the winds of change is architecture. One tends to think that the people behind the buildings bought their floor and roofing plans from the same shelf in one supermarket; they all look the same and lack imagination.
A whole neighborhood looks the same from every angle, soulless. Houses feel cramped inside, dreary, dump and with poor lighting.
So it is very welcome that the new housing estates and office buildings coming up are changing that narrative; they are airy and vibrant. They have gone green.
The environmentally friendly and energy-efficient buildings are what have been missing. The fact that the city is congested with very few available plots, it makes sense to maximize the space and putting up buildings that contribute to the city’s character.
Now, that is what is needed in our city; one with a breath of fresh air.