2017 has been a busy year for freelance documentary photographer Jacques Nkinzingabo. For three months (July-September), Nkinzingabo was in Germany where he took part in Documenta, a contemporary art exhibition which lasts 100 days.
Now the photographer is using the inspiration he got while in Germany to set up a centre for photography in Rwanda.
Documenta is one of the biggest and most respected festivals in Europe. This year they also opened in Athens, Greece. “I was invited by the Goethe-Institut just to be part of it, not as an exhibitor, but to meet and learn from other artistes and come back home and create something. I had always had a dream to create a space for photography in Kigali and I felt this was the time, so I created the Kigali Center For Photography (KCFP),” he said.
Located behind the American embassy in Kacyiru, the centre is due for official opening on December 8th.
“In this country, we have a lot of art centres, and these art centres are into paintings. I thought we needed a centre for photography where someone can go for two to three months just to acquire skills and learn more about photography,” Nkinzingabo explained.
He observed that photographers need a space where to meet and have access to books and other photographers, and where they can showcase their work.
“Mainly it will be photography, but we will also do video and animation. It’s also a learning centre where we will hold exhibitions and workshops. When the centre grows we will even offer art residency,” he added.
Plans are also underway to stage a photo festival at the centre next year.
According to Nkinzingabo, the Kigali Photo Festival will take place in June 2018.
“I want to send Rwandan photographers abroad, just to showcase their work. With this space we will also receive a lot of photographers from abroad. Originally photographers used to fly into Rwanda to take photos for the BBC and so on, and then fly back immediately, but now I’m getting a lot of messages from photographers from all over the world who want to come down here and interact with local photographers.”