Innocent Buregeya grew up in the Kigali City suburb of Remera in the 1980s. It was there that Buregeya developed the love for nature that has come to characterize his work to this day.
Buregeya is a visual artist, who draws and paints. His work is infused with his passion for Rwandan culture, women emancipation, music and fashion, as well as the traditional African motifs that are defining elements of his style.
Buregeya speaks to The New Times about his paintings and inspirations. Excerpts
Qn: How do you define art?
A: Art is a lifelong love affair with the light and darkness of self-expression, and the irrepressible urge to create something that conjures a moment of insight or memory. The paintings may be interpreted differently, but, of course, they all display out life. Art refreshes the mind.
Qn: What inspired you into this field?
A: So many things inspire me on different levels. The most obvious is my everyday life and the disjointed collage of parts of my day or week that I carry around in my head.
Qn: When did you venture into this business?
A: It was way back in 2005 after completing my A’ level in Electronics and Tele-communication. I realised that getting a job was difficult; so I decided to create one for myself. I had studied art in secondary school, which gave me an opportunity to practice my childhood dream.
Qn: What message do you convey in your art pieces?
A: The message is general, though the main focus is on the African women, a dedication to today’s Rwandan women, the power of women, mother’s love and gender balance, among other issues.
Qn: How do your paintings differ from other artists’ work?
A: Mine have long necks which make them unique.
Qn: When did you join Uburanga Art Studio?
A: I joined in 2008 after I was inspired my Jean Bosco Bakunzi, the studio founding director.
Qn: Have you ever held any exhibitions?
A: My debut solo exhibition took place last year at Heaven Restaurant, while the second one dubbed ‘Face of a Thousand Hills’ was held this year in the US. And my solo exhibition titled, “Together in Step”, kicked off last week and ends on October 31.
Qn: How was the begining?
A: At first, people never showed interest in art because they didn’t understand it. But nowadays people really appreciate art.
Qn: Any future prospects?
A: I have a dream of working on a project of establishing an art centre back home in the village, where I can give a chance to young people to be groomed in this field.
Qn: What advice would you give to the young artists?
A: Aspiring to become an-all rounder is great. Just because you have a specific talent or area of focus or training doesn’t mean you close doors on what else that goes on in the world. In order to succeed you need to have a focus and determination. I advise young artists to embrace their talent with respect. They should also know that they’re always susceptible to criticism. If you care about criticism, then you’re in the wrong place.
By Andrew Israel Kazibwe, The New Times