Visual artist Isaac Iirumva on his art exhibition ‘Faces’ | The new times

Local painter Isaac Irumva opened a 12-day art exhibition titled “Face” on Friday, December 17, at the supermarket building in Sawa town, Remera area, during which he looks forward to sharing the best of his works of art as well as the works of five artists organized with art lovers in Kigali.

The Faces art exhibition features 15 works by the five selected artists displayed on the walls, each with its specific description and will close on December 28.

Many people entered, out of curiosity, to see what was going on in the building as colorful paintings and installations could be seen through the windows.

There are very few spaces designed to host visual art exhibitions in Kigali. Most exhibitions take place in art galleries, hotels, cafes or art-related institutions. Space is very important when planning an exhibition because an artist’s showcase is always in response to the type of space available. Thus, the two must come together.

Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, the curators of this art exhibition managed to find an ideal space: the design of the building, the displays, the lighting and the concepts integrated into the works of art perfectly matched the theme of the exhibition – “Visage” a French word that is loosely translated as “Visages”.

Speaking to Irumva in the exhibition space, he said that this art exhibition is the result of his own journey as a local painter and how artists in general identify themselves in society, but above all how they are reflected in society.

“An artist like anyone else has the agency to determine what their work addresses and the role they want to play in society,” he says.

One of the works of Brave Tangz. / Courtesy

The curator says he hopes to show the many facets of an artist in this exhibition, “Artists are just human beings too. Here are some of their faces. And the way everyone expresses themselves. The main topic we want to focus on is mental health, we want to spread a healing message to Rwandans.”

Iirumva went on to explain that during this exhibition, five visual artists named Antoine Izere, Christian King Dusabe, Brave Tangz and Junior Mudahunga were organized among others.

“I wanted to explore different sources of inspiration, artistic processes and personalities as well. Even though we are all artists making art, we have different triggers, styles and of course different things that we want to address or express a specific issue,” he recalls.

He revealed that the main aim of this exhibition is to break down the stigma around the art industry and how it affects the players in it.

“In the Rwandan community, art is considered a very limited craft. It is limited in the subjects it can address, in the forms it can take and in the financial gains it can derive from it. During this exhibition, I wanted to break down all those boundaries, especially by addressing the mental health issues that have affected many people due to the disruptions caused by covid-19,’ he shares.

The artist also pointed out that their exhibition began to see success thanks to the positive feedback they received.

“This exhibition allowed me to overcome my personal problems that I had before. People underestimated me because I’m disabled and it made me realize that I was valuable too. The fact that I am different and that I can do my things and be better in my own way,” recalls Ryan Mugisha, one of the participants in the exhibition.

Among these future plans, Irumva plans to continue making many works of art that deal with mental health issues because he thinks it is a huge subject that also needs a lot of attention and needs to be addressed more than it is not nowadays.

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Briana R. Cross