One is the capital of Rwanda and the other is one of the biggest cities in the United States of America, but the two cities were able to come together through art. Artists from Chicago and Rwanda held a joint art exhibition at Niyo Art Gallery in Kacyiru, recently.
Dubbed, “Building Hope Art Exchange –featuring artists from Kigali and Chicago, the exhibition ended on September 15.
The Simple Good, a group of artists from Chicago and Heart Of A Thousand Hills from Rwanda, used the exhibition to exchange ideas to fuel positive change in society.
The opening day of the weeklong exhibition was characterised by display of art across different mediums from both cities- with art pieces from the two cities hung next to one another, literally bringing Chicago close to Kigali.
There was music, drinks and live performances throughout the night. Artists and art lovers came along to enjoy and appreciate the work of art in its diversity.
Heart of a Thousand Hills, a non- governmental organisation with a mission to provide education opportunities to underprivileged Rwandan children is the brain behind the exhibition.
The director and founder Heart of Thousand Hills Nina Iliza, said that the organization has a plan to build a school for underprivileged children at Rwesero.
“The exhibition is part of a fundraising drive to raise money to build the school,” said Iliza.
In partnership with The Simple Good, a non-governmental organization from Chicago, through its director and founder Priya Shah, the organization has a mission to connect the meaning of ‘good’ from the world to empower at-risk youth to transform communities through art and discussions.
Through public art projects and youth art programming, they transcend the message that no matter where you go in the world, good means the same to everyone- and that is what connects people as human beings.
For over seven years, the organization has been raising funds through people and the money is used to set up community projects.
Last year, the two organisations embarked on a project to build classrooms for a rural school in Rwesero, allowing more children to safely attend school.
This year, the two organisations will paint and beautify the school using murals and art, to make it more conducive for children.
Through the exchange, Rwandan artists are able to share their art, learn from each other and spread their wings beyond Rwanda.
The artists are also planning to film a documentary with a purpose of building hope through art advocacy.
Rwandan artists who participated said that they hope the cooperation will come with benefits including sharing international platforms, creating new networks, promoting Rwanda’s culture and marketing their works.
In Rwanda, the Simple Good brought in five voluntary artists who are also society activists, including J. Ivy(poetry) and his wife Tarry Torae, David Antony Geary (Mixed media), Caesar Perez(Street art), Daniel Walden (Acrylic),Obi Soulstar (singer, songwriter, and producer) and Cam Be (photographer). While in Rwanda, they performed alongside their Rwandan counterparts including Spokenword artiste Eric One key and several local artists.