Rwanda is one of the few African countries that have stuck to their culture. Seeing no reason to become complacent with their culture, Rwanda has maintained an explicit and traditionally refined culture that has been neatly marketed across the globe.
Rwanda’s Art dates way back to the early 1880’s when Rwandans distinctively used dung ‘paintings’ dominated by black, brown and white whorls and other geometric abstractions, these unique and earthy works were used in local house decorations.
However, much of Rwanda’s traditional cultural heritage revolved around dances, praise songs, dynastic poems, drums (for example the royal drum ‘Karinga’), riddles, traditional crafts such as basketry, ceramics, and ironworks. These provided another element of continuity with the past.
During the terrible days of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the world witnessed the passing of what may have been today’s Rwandan Art masters.
The country’s only major art school L’ecole d’art du Rwanda in Nyundo, Gisenyi was destroyed along with countless works of the country’s contemporary cultural heritage.
With this single blow, the very institution that was to ensure the vitality of Rwandan art throughout the continent was snuffed out. And today, generally Rwandan contemporary art is practically unknown to the international community.
However, the new Rwanda has emerged and with it, Ivuka Arts Kigali, a new body that saw the rebirth of contemporary arts in the country.
Ivuka Arts has become the face of Rwandan art to both the national and international communities.
Since its establishment in 2007, the studio has become the most sought-after fine arts destination for expatriates and diplomats in Rwanda.
Today, Rwanda’s arts present a large range of arts and craft products, that are all hand-made, based exclusively on natural materials, and non toxic dyes compliant with the highest international quality standards.
A wide range of traditional art crafts are produced in rural Rwanda, ranging from ceramics and basketry to traditional woodcarvings and contemporary paintings.
A good selection of crafted artifacts can be viewed in the main market or street stalls in Kigali, while an excellent place to peruse and purchase modern art works is at the capital’s centre.