Visual artists Zacharie Niyigena and Jean-Baptiste Rukundo spent the month of February facilitating several workshops on art for disadvantaged children around the country. The workshops and mentorship focused on children from orphanages, those under the care of NGOs, and school-going children.
The two are co-founders of DM250 Art, a coalition of Rwandan visual artists whose aim is to “promote, improve, establish and educate the art industry both in the national and international context,” according to Niyigena. DM250 was behind both the workshops and a subsequent visual art exhibition featuring works of the winners chosen from the workshops.
DM250 is an acronym for Rwanda Dushake Impano mu Rwanda (Find Talent in Rwanda).
The beneficiaries were drawn from places like the Gikondo Hope Home for Children, Umucyo Wejo Transit Center, Kimisagara Youth Center, and Nyamata. The workshops that lasted a week each were made possible by the volunteer hands of other established visual artists like Tabaro Poupoute, and Umuhoza Naomi. Art students from the Nyundo Art School also volunteered to take the budding artists through the drills.
After the workshops, twelve children were chosen for their outstanding art works which culminated in a group visual exhibition at the Impact Hub in Kiyovu.
The ongoing exhibition opened to the public on April 17, and will run until May 25.
Niyigena explained that the exhibition is focused on “youth and gender equality.”
“The work they came up with during the workshops was about expressing what they passed through, be it street kids, orphans or other vulnerable children, in a way of showing the world the life they lived at home, in orphanages or on the streets,” he explained, adding that “a real artist paints his life.”
He added the project was developed with a view to highlight the creativity and talents of the girl child:
“Following a series of empowerment-focused art workshops, this exhibition showcases new works of talented young artists in Kigali on the theme of gender equality and girl’s creative abilities. Artistic creations by both girls and boys are on display, highlighting the creativity and abilities innate to all young people regardless of their gender.”