Many people think to succeed in life means always waiting for your ship to harbour. Fabien Akimana, a young 20-year old Rwandan artist/painter already boasting many awards won’t be seen waiting for the ship.
According to Akimana one needs to swim out to the ship in order to reach where he or she wants.
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it,” said Akimana, adding that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Akimana started practicing art at the age of six year in Gitarama, Muhanga district where he was living with his mother. His parents divorced leaving him and his siblings ‘kind of homeless’ according to Akimana.
In a quiet way, he reveals that his parents were not always supportive, although they recognized he had passion for art.
“Our parents didn’t have that much care for us, so each one of us was like on his own. I went ahead to pursue my talent and befriended those who were well conversant with painting,” pointed out Akimana.
In his point of view, he had to move to Kigali city citing that it was the only way of improving his talent. “You see there are always lots of opportunities when you are in the city,” he said, adding that his life has never been the same ever since he came to Kigali.
Akimana joined Ivuka painters in Kicukiro sector where he’s currently doing the painting and according to him, it’s where he has been getting inspiration. “We have been getting experts from UNICEF under the support of the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion. They have been teaching us how to mix colours,” he said.
Akimana loves to associate with different people and different societies in order to paint their characteristics as a way of telling a story.
According to him, through associating with other artists, he kept improving his painting skills and it has paid off. He won the first position in the 2001 national competition and he was awarded a bicycle plus Rwf 30,000 and an assortment of commodities.
Akimana did not stop there; he won the tolerance competition in 2006 and got an award of Rwf150, 000. He also participated in Art for Peace and managed to get a second position winning himself Rwf600, 000.
According to Akimana, the year 2009 was his stepping stone. “I begun getting at least $400 in monthly sales, customers are increasing month by month,” he said.
Akimana sells his pictures ranging from $100 to $400 each according to the size and the meaning or content in them.
It’s through his talent that he has managed to pay school fees for his two brothers and a sister and is currently taking care of them. He’s in senior five in the school of art in Nyondo, Gisenyi district majoring in graphic art under the sponsorship of the Rwanda National Museum.
However, Akimana says Rwandans are still ignorant about the art. “Rwandans don’t have an idea about art, you see we get pushed by people,” he said, adding that most of the customers he receives are always whites.
He further said that materials used in painting graphics are expensive most of them being imported and some of these include painting colours and boards, among others.
Akimana added that he wants to concentrate more on his career and later establish his own gallery and employ fellow youths especially the needy ones. “With determination, desire and being time conscious you can be successful,” he underscores.