Rwanda’s visual arts journey told through documentary

A documentary about the evolution of Rwanda’s visual art has been launched. Titled In the eye of the Artist, the documentary, by David Helft, a French filmmaker was premiered during the opening of a visual art exhibition hosted by Inganzo Arts Centre.
Local artists pose with the French filmmaker David Helft (centre in a suit) at the premiere of the 'In the Eye of the Artist' documentary. / Donata Kiiza.
Local artists pose with the French filmmaker David Helft (centre in a suit) at the premiere of the 'In the Eye of the Artist' documentary. / Donata Kiiza.

A documentary about the evolution of Rwanda’s visual art has been launched. Titled In the eye of the Artist, the documentary, by David Helft, a French filmmaker was premiered during the opening of a visual art exhibition hosted by Inganzo Arts Centre.

The indoor exhibition kicked off last weekend at Umubano Hotel in Kigali and ends on September 30. It is organised by veteran artist Epa Binamungu, the founder of Inganzo Arts Centre in partnership with Institut français du Rwanda.

 

Helft, who has over 30 years experience in the industry, said that he felt passionate about making a documentary film about Rwanda’s visual art for his French audiences. 

 
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Artist Innocent Buregeya explains his paintings to some of the attendees, including comedian Atome (right). / Donata Kiiza

The 52-minute documentary will be aired on TV5 based in France. It will be translated into English or Kinyarwanda for other audiences.

 

Binamungu said the documentary was one of the ways to market Rwanda’s arts to the outside world.

He said visual art is growing as many youth both male and female have taken it up as a career.

“I love the fact that even the female youth have developed interest in doing art. This is a great achievement for us as an organization and to me as a promoter of art because this is something that can be done by anyone as long as you have the interest and passion in it,” noted Binamungu.

This exhibition brings together upcoming and seasoned visual artists to create a learning environment and share experiences. 

Over the past years, Rwanda’s contemporary art sector has developed with several art studios and centers across the country. Art exhibitions are frequently organised to promote the homegrown talent. Some of these arts centers and studios include the National Art gallery, Inema Arts Centre, Bwiza Arts Kigali, Ivuka Art Studio,Yego Arts, Uburanga Arts studio and Inganzo Arts Centre, among very many others.

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Artist Gaby explains his paintings to some of the art enthusiasts at the exhibition. / Faustin Niyigena.

There is also a growing trend of young Rwandan women asserting themselves in a field largely dominated by men, with the determination to grow as modern artists. 

However, the art sector still has a long way to go in order to compete at the international market. There is still a need for the artists to create a wide network of distribution and preservation of their artistic creations, among other factors.

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