Art Soaring – Inema Art Center Kigali, Rwanda

Driving through Kigali, one is struck by the brilliant and colorful clothing of the men and women walking on the sidewalks and roads, babies swaddled on the backs of mothers. Babies wrapped in bright patterned cloth, women balancing brightly hued baskets filled with produce on their heads.  Color is a central part of the lives of the people of Rwanda.

Always looking for local artists when I travel, our exclusive guide focused on the best in Kigali; unexpected delight is found at Inema, a neighborhood café/art studio. Inema is a Kinyarwanda word meaning a blessing, or a gift. Emmanuel Nkuranga and Innocent Nkurunziza, founded the center in 2012.On arrival at the gallery, the vibrant paint scheme on the split-level house sends a message: you’ve arrived at an inspiring collective. We spent a few hours in animated conversation with brothers Innocent and Emmanuel. It was only a short touring schedule that forced us to leave their enchanting gallery; they are both animated, bright, curious and very talented artists. Clearly inspired by the bright backgrounds of their country, their talent is spread out amid the garden where Emmanuel has utilized unlikely materials like an old VW bug and reclaimed objects as part of his installation projects. Their work defines contemporary African art with pieces that emerge from experimentation with a range of unexpected material.From a family of six brothers born in Uganda, the young men with degrees in the sciences have all discovered and embraced art as a creative outlet; despite their varied educations, they have been well recognized in their new chosen passion. Their family moved back to Rwanda in 1997 to begin rebuilding their genocide torn lives.

Understanding the transformative value of art and creative expression, they founded the Inema Arts Center, a collective of Rwandan creative artists. At its core, Inema Arts Center provides space for 10 artists in residence to explore their creative talent. Specializing in contemporary African Arts, Crafts, Music, and Dance.Inema’s artists produce paintings, sculptures, and mixed media expressions showcased in the Gallery at Inema Arts Center. The Center is home to workshop projects, art training and hands on classes, initiatives that expand creative arts in Rwanda for young artists and children.Their contemporary stylized work has made it to the walls of Silicon Valley art collectors and the world.

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