Renowned graffiti artist Roa visits Rwanda

Internationally acclaimed Belgian graffiti and street artist, Roa is in the country on a mission to promote environmental conservation through art based activism and creative community engagement.
ROA is acknowledged for the unique portrayals of large scale animals that reflect his opinions concerning human societies. Photo courtesy of Kurema Kureba Kwiga.
ROA is acknowledged for the unique portrayals of large scale animals that reflect his opinions concerning human societies. Photo courtesy of Kurema Kureba Kwiga.

Internationally acclaimed Belgian graffiti and street artist, Roa is in the country on a mission to promote environmental conservation through art based activism and creative community engagement.

Better known for creating massive black and white paintings of animals that examine the relationship between man and the environment, Roa is credited with creating hundreds of murals throughout Europe and other locations around the world.

He came to Rwanda under the curation of Kurema, Kureba, Kwiga, a local social enterprise that encourages public art and mural projects in Rwanda in a bid to engage civil society in creating positive social change.

The muralist kicked off his work on Thursday, October 19, creating artworks around Rwanda Development Board (RDB) facilities in Kinigi, Musanze. He will be in Kinigi until today, October 21.

Thereafter, he will provide a private ‘Artist Talk’ and workshop to local artists about art, activism, and conservation in Kigali on Monday, October 23.

After that, the project will proceed with the artist creating one large scale public mural painting at the Okapi Hotel in Kigali between October 24 -29.

According to Judith Kaine, the founder and director of Kurema, Kureba, Kwiga, admission to the project is free to the public, although public photo and video documentation will be limited “to respect the artist’s anonymity.”

However, public screenings and events will proceed in November 2017.

Although Roa’s works have been recorded, photographed and documented in various locations across the globe, very little is known about or documented about the reclusive muralist.

Some of the major cities where his works can be found include; London, New York, Warsaw, Berlin, Madrid, Moscow, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Paris.

Roa’s preferred work methods are use of spray paint or acrylic paint. His artistic career started with the artist painting buildings and warehouses in his hometown of Ghent, in Belgium, before he eventually found his artistic signature with a distinctive black and white style.

The artist typically creates animal murals based on the location he is in, so one can only expect some murals of Rwanda’s famed mountain gorillas, especially in Kinigi.

The work in Kinigi is created in partnership with RDB in an effort to celebrate conservation. It will be the first time the artist is working anywhere in East Africa.

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