Ivuka Arts, Kigali, Rwanda.

The quirky gallery as seen from the dusty. clean street. An unlikely place for an art centre?


I discovered an interesting fact here in Rwanda…people place their surname before their first name! It can be disconcerting at first trying to pronounce the almost (to an outsider) unpronounceable surnames… From L to R, these artists are Nizeyimana Patrick , Mugisha Phillipe, Tuyisenge Chislon, and Mutuyimana Emmanuel. These are just four of the artists that we met during our visit to this centre.

I called this piece ‘Put your best foot forward’…it is made entirely out of recycled/repurposed materials and I just wished I could have fitted it into my luggage. I think that part of the ‘culture-of-cleanliness’ here in Rwanda is what leads artists to create works out of virtually anything usable.

Looking like it could have been done by Banksy. The flowers growing out of the artwork added to, rather than subtracted from the actual piece. I have been told by artists that hands are NOT easy to draw, and that point seems to be proved in this image.

Made out of recycled tin cans, this ‘spider'(?) squats in the corner of one of the rooms at ivuka arts. The painting on the left has parts of old denim jeans painted into the work.

This is self-taught artist Tuyisenge Chislon, who enjoys working in bright colours and is currently working on a project that will raise money to fight the scourge of elephant poaching.

One of my new friends in Rwanda, Nizeyimana Patrick who works at ivuka arts. Aside from painting his clothing as well as canvasses, he runs art workshops, has a dance troupe and is a working photographer.

It is unusual for me to ‘feature’ in one of my postings…This is the painting by Nizeyimana Patrick that Carolyn and I will be taking back to South Africa with us. It might mean that we have to re-hang several of our other travel pieces to make space for it, but that is how we roll. The painting is a representation of how the different people in Rwanda work together post-Genocide to make the country a better place for all.

I asked Nizeyimana Patrick to re-sign the canvas for me and we now have all his contact details on the reverse of the canvas. It was great to meet such passionate artists, living and working together and making art that is relevant and affordable.

The house is where many of the artists live, the gallery and working outdoor studio is in the building on the right. BTW, aside from the canvasses of various sizes, there is a range of hand-made cards that could be used for a variety of special occasions as they are blank on the inside.

For more information on the artists, their work and what courses Patrick offers, visit ivuka arts Facebook page. If you have time while in Kigali, then this welcoming art centre/gallery is well worth a visit. Allow about 45-60 minutes to chat and interact with the artists who might be available.

This one just one of the places that we visited on our day tour of Kigali, organised by Martin Muyenzi and his tour company.

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