Schools closed for the third term long holiday. For some, students this is the time to enjoy the freedom they miss when at school.
Some children use this freedom to engage in anti-social activities like drug abuse. For others, they exercise this freedom with caution. They continue reading at home and harness their talents.
One such student is Dora Habumukiza Umuhoza, a student at Groupe Scolaire Notre Dame Du Bon Conselle.
When I met her at Ivuka Arts Center in Kacyiru, she was busy completing a marquee piece of a painting that enthralled me.
“This is my first time at Ivuka and it’s the first time I’m experimenting with acrylic paint on canvas,” she said.
Umuhoza uses pencil, colour, and crayons to produce her artwork.
“I’m into realism art. I draw anything that I see, be it a cow grazing or a picture. Art is my passion. It runs in my blood,” she adds.
Umuhoza says that her love for art began in earnest when she was still a young girl at Le Petit Prince Primary school in Kigali. “I used to draw charts for my teachers that they used as resources to reinforce their lessons,” she says with a smile.
But how did she come to know about Ivuka? Umuhoza says it was during an art competition organised by the Kurema, Kureba, Kwiga group two months ago at their school that she came to know about the arts centre through one of the judges, Jean Pierre Rukundo.
“I scooped the top position and exchanged contact with Rukundo. When the schools closed for holiday, I called him, and requested to do my apprenticeship under him. He agreed and here I am,” she says.
The senior-five student adds that the popular belief that women are incapable of doing art, is a fallacy. “This is a myth that needs to be debunked. Art is about thinking and working and these traits are bestowed on both genders. All a woman needs is passion and effort to succeed in this challenging field.
“I may still be young even to contemplate what future holds for me but what I know is that in case things don’t work out the way I want, I have my talent as a fallback,” says Umuhoza.
She says that even though she doesn’t intend to take art as a full-time profession, she will never quit it.
“Whichever direction my life takes, whatever job I will find myself in, I will still do art because this is my God given talent. I will continue doing art,” she says firmly.
The 17-year-old says she is channelling her energy on working so hard at school and her preferred course would be food science if she qualifies to join the university.