Tembea : Art as a source of livelihood can easily catch up in Rwanda

The obvious reason for every effort to acquire skills is to get employed and therefore earn a better living. However, having the skills is one thing and utilizing them effectively in the labour market another.
The artist Birasa in his workshop where he displays his products. (Photo. G.Mugoya)
The artist Birasa in his workshop where he displays his products. (Photo. G.Mugoya)

The obvious reason for every effort to acquire skills is to get employed and therefore earn a better living. However, having the skills is one thing and utilizing them effectively in the labour market another.

The labour market is competitive especially if labour has to seek for employment, the reason behind the strong campaign aiming to produce job creators than job seekers.

It even makes it harder to achieve as people always hope for the best employment as their dreams. This is normally defined by a good pay. Becoming doctors, pilots and managers to mention a few is the choice of many out there.

However, wishes differ from destiny, the reason why Bernard Birasa an artist with over 10 years experience in says there is always luck and talent in what people have to finally engage in.  

Apart from a few, art work is in most cases considered an active way to spend their leisure time. This is why it is considered after carrying out other responsibilities.

According to Birasa, at this time people are stressed or exhausted with other activities which they consider more paying and important to their lives.

According to Birasa, art work can as well be an employment as the artiste gives his experience in art and the long way he has come with it.

Just like any other hard and successful worker, Birasa wakes up early in the morning to get to his workshop to engage in a variety of art work.

Unlike others, the artiste believes artwork is just like any other responsibility which requires concentration with a fresh mind.

“Quality will be determined by the level of concentration of the brain. So it needs to give it appropriate time other than when one believes it deserves only a free time to relax on,” he said.

“Immediately after the early morning bathe, I get into the workshop. I must do something even before I have breakfast.”

The artist says his decision on the location of his workshop has enabled him to utilize his time effectively.

“Since it does not require any transportation costs, I can at any time day or night get to work, so long as I am motivated and ready for it,” he said.

However, he narrates the hardship in penetrating into the market although he currently says his strategies in search for market have also contributed to his success story in the business.

“I have not only used the media to let people know of my products, but also to sensitize the population to realize the importance of my work in their homes like in decorating their sitting rooms, bed rooms and compounds.”

In Birasa`s compound, his art works welcome every passer-by. Those in the compound according to the artiste are made of materials which are resistant to any type of weather to avoid easy depreciation.

Others are installed with power to provide security light in the compound which also adds value and beauty.

However, although he says Rwandans are in love with art products based on the cultural messages they hold among others, he highlights the major challenges which sometimes complicate and affect business operations.

“In Rwanda we lack the materials to do some of this art work. And this has indeed affected the number of people engaging in the business due to the costs of importation of raw materials,” he said.

According to him, even potential businessmen have given up importing these materials on claims of lack of market. He however noted that among other factors, this (lack of market) has been caused by lack of raw materials in the country.

“I have addressed these issues to some businessmen including companies, made orders with them but they say it’s not easy to serve only the demands of an individual on such goods.” 

He says that he personally has to travel to either Kampala or Nairobi among other countries even beyond the region in search for the materials.

Rwanda Art, a company operating in art products, has also contributed to stimulating artists through availing good market for their products.

“I have been in good business connections with Rwanda Art. I give them some of my products for a display and they are able to get good market for me,”

Birasa believes that one of the ways which might help restrain the problem of raw materials is when people realize that art work is paying as one can easily earn a living from it.

He says this will help to improve on the number of those interested in the work, a measure to increase demand of raw materials hence enticing businessmen and companies to get involved in the importation of raw materials.

mugoyag@yahoo.com

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