Willy Karekezi’s ongoing solo exhibition at Uburanga Arts Gallery in Kimihurura is a clear testimony of how artists can creatively use colour to convey different messages that affect the society.
The exhibition dubbed, ‘The Age of Love’ which opened its doors to art lovers, shows Karekezi’s skillful use of paints to create different art pieces that not only express his passion for visual arts but also the values that he believes in.
Karekezi showcases the eternal nature of love and his paintings vividly capture the bittersweet nature of love. He also uses waste materials to sensitize people to care for the environment.
He said during the opening ceremony of the exhibition that though love has gone through tremendous renaissance over the past few years, owing to the influence of technology and social media, its pristine nature should remain unsullied since it’s one of the elemental virtues that build a strong society.
He laments that social media has totally changed the approach to love, saying that it’s now more common to find people who have not even met physically expressing their undying love for each other through social mediums.
“Today we don’t care learning even about our immediate neighbors because we’re so much preoccupied with ourselves. Love is not there anymore. People even love their cars and houses more than their husbands and wives. We should try to reclaim the lost love of the old.”
He points out that during the time of our ancestors, people used to go to great lengths to express their love for one another, drawing an example from the knights of the old who even used to lay their lives under the sword to prove their love for their women, something he laments is not there anymore today.
Of particular interest was a painting of family portrait on a giant canvas that he says took great effort in working out to show his love for a united family.
The giant painting called ‘Nothing Like Family’, painted in size 2m by 1.5m goes for USD 1,500 and is the most expensive piece on display.
“No matter the difference you can have as people, it’s important that it’s the family that one finds intense love and acceptance. When you experience rejection from your family, it’s also easy to reject yourself and fall into the trap of bad practices that might be detrimental to you as a person,” he says of the piece.
The other artwork that shows the essence of family love is smaller portrait called ‘The Africa Essence of a Family’ that goes for USD 300.
His use of imagination and colors is also clearly discernible in two semi-abstract paintings of naked women, one of them heavily pregnant and lying on her bed as she waits for delivery of her bundle of joy.
“Women are givers of gifts in form of a new life. And the love they normally have for their children is unquestionable. They go through painful labor to experience the joy of motherhood,” he says of the particular art piece.
Another one called ‘Sexy in Love’ is an account of how people fall first in love through visual attraction. He says, “You first feel attracted to a potential lover visually before you even talk. The attractive shape of a woman’s body can contribute to the first surge of love which can burgeon into greater love and commitment.”
He adds that art has become a powerful medium through which people not only express themselves but also develop mentally and materially.
“Contemporary art has become a potent tool for personal development and the society should invest heavily in it. Artists of today have found a voice and they speak better through art. These voices should be preserved for posterity,” Karekezi points out.
Karekezi was born in 1993. As a young boy growing up in post genocide Rwanda, he says that he became interested in art at a very tender age. He initiated himself into the trade while still a pupil at La Colombiere where he would sketch some comic characters from cartoon books, painting them just for fun.
He joined Uburanga Arts while still a secondary school student in 2009 to develop his painting passion. He began professional painting three years later.
The colorful opening ceremony was accompanied by poems and music. The poignant poems, lamenting the intricacies of love and one celebrating its triumph were narrated by Alice Umwari and Addis Rugira Kamikanzi respectively. The event was attended by hundreds of art lovers.
The exhibition will end on September 12, 2015.