I watch as he paints his piece. He is engrossed in his work as music plays in the background. His working gear is dotted with stains from paint. He is an artist, whose work reflects African culture. Before 2010, Hakizimana never believed that one day he would own his own art gallery. Today he is a proud owner of Uburanga Arts Studio, located in Kimihurura.
At the age of 26, Augustin Hakizimana, has been an artist for the last four years.
“Art is my passion. There’s a way it lets me communicate or put across my message to those who take their time and see beyond the mixture of colour,” says Hakizimana whose role model is legendary artist Pablo Picasso.
Hakizimana is the second born in a family of five children.
He grew up with the passion for art but didn’t know where to start from, until he got a small job in one of the local bars to sell art pieces that were done by other people.
“I always thank God—that job was like a stepping stone for me. I interacted with these artists and got to know them. One day, I painted my own piece and showed it to one of the artists who used to bring their paintings for sale—he appreciated it and encouraged me to start painting,” says Hakizimana.
Hakizimana draws his inspiration and motivation for art from the living style of ancient people, with focus on women. Many of his art pieces portray how women lived in the ancient days, their life style and activities.
Hakizimana receives more than five customers every week. The prices for his paintings vary and the least costs Rwf10, 000.
Hakizimana also runs a project that trains children in art.
“I believe that to leave a legacy, I have to inspire the young ones. It is also why my pictures always communicate cultural messages because I am doing this for the young ones who will be born in the generation where culture won’t count anymore,” says Hakizimana.
“The biggest challenge for most painters is lack of finance and, partly the fact that many Rwandans haven’t yet understood the beauty of art,” says Hakizimana.
The artist has very many projects but is hindered by inadequate resources.
“I would wish to expand my school of art but still at the end, it goes back to one hindrance, which is finance,” says Hakizimana.
Hakizimana urges Rwandans to embrace art. “Art is something that Rwandans haven’t given attention, which is abit embarrassing. Why should a foreigner pick more interest than locals,” he asks.