Visual artists share challenges caused by pandemic | New times

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To say that the COVID-19 PANDEMIC has been tough on the creative art industry is an understatement.

Among others, the creative art industry was one of the sources of income for many artists by selling their works at exhibitions, live painting events, visitors who visit art galleries, etc.

Lewis Manishimwe, a local artist practicing painting and mixed media style, told the New Times that among the challenges he has faced is blocking his exhibition which he has been preparing for two years,

Indiba Kigali Arts Center

“I worked on a collection of works of art in my studio that I wanted to exhibit on the occasion of Women’s Day in March 2020, I was shocked when I heard about the period of confinement, but I told myself that I could still do better and maybe I will have a chance the next year, but the situation has not improved, ” he said.

The artist said that although it took him a while to admit the situation, he was distracted by his exhibition because whenever he thought of a postponement, events and long gatherings were again prohibited and he panicked.

“I learned a great lesson, I refused to be depressed and I chose to create more beautiful works of art. I can’t wait to resume my art show this month. It’s also quite complicated to find an avenue to accept it, but we have to learn to live with the pandemic, ” added the artist.

This is the same case for Eduige Mutoniwase, a student pursuing her studies in creative arts at the University of Rwanda, she says most of the challenges the pandemic has brought include banning almost all artistic activities, including including exhibitions. She revealed that although they are adjusting to the situation by emerging in digital showrooms, they have encountered several challenges.

“We had an exhibition in March of women in the creative arts industry, but due to the situation we were forced to move our event to virtual exhibition halls. Art is something that creates emotional feelings when you face it physically, so it was quite difficult because many did not know how virtual exhibitions work, our exhibition became less productive, and few attended it. ‘was not very interesting at all,’ ‘she says.

According to Bernard Birasa, a professional painter based in Kigali, even though the coronavirus epidemic has shut down most of their sources of income, it has also been a good time for the artist, especially for those who have enough materials to create beautiful and meaningful works of art that they hope will benefit when the pandemic subsides.

“Things have totally changed because of the pandemic, especially in the art sector. Previously would plan an exhibition to invite local and foreign visitors and then make money from it. We are living proof that we make a living from art, but today few people spend money on our works of art in this predicament. We have suffered a lot, ” he said.

“For example, when there is a containment, I immediately took my brush and the canvas made a beautiful work of art expressing how as a human being there is nothing we can do in this situation and that God is our only savior, that his hands alone will do it, give us the cure for this virus, ” he added.

Birasa also pointed out that for him and other courageous artists, the pandemic is the best time to take advantage of the situation and make good use of the works of art that will keep the history of this period so that after many years the people watch them and remember the pandemic.

However, the situation has not been so bad, according to Remy Iradukunda, a living painter based at Envision Media Arts Collective.

For him, the pandemic has made it clear that art is not a basic human need, adding that before the pandemic they sold over 60% of the gallery’s artwork, but now they don’t. sold only about 15% in a year and a half. .

“I have encountered many challenges as a live painting industry, we work as musicians, comedians and others who need to get our message out at large gatherings, and these gatherings have been banned. As a live painter, the companies that invited me to do live painting at their events and that affected me deeply, ”he said.

“At Envision Rwanda we used to run live sessions, but they are not fully permitted nowadays, but then we learn to adapt to the situation by allowing a small number of people to participate in different sessions where they can help us. join, and it works. Iradukunda added.

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