Inema Arts Center

Another art gallery in Kigali! Woohoo!!

Meet the Inema Arts Center, located in Kacyiru. It’s actually been around for several months now but I’ve been kind of crap and have only just ventured over there to say hello and to see what’s happening here. Well, what’s happening is very cool! I shouldn’t be surprised as the two guys behind Inema are Innocent and Emma (Get it? Inn-Emma… their names combined! But it also means “a blessing, a gift, a talent, to cultivate, to give and to receive” in Kinyarwanda), brothers who decided to branch out on their own after spending some time working with Ivuka Arts.

It’s exciting to see Kigali’s contemporary art scene grow and along with Ivuka Arts, there’s Uburanga in Kimihurura and another new place in Nyarutarama called (I think) Bwiza Arts which I’ll get to one of these days.

Inema provides space for 10 artists, each producing their own style of contemporary African art. They paint, they sculpt, the work with mixed medium, they dance! Ok, maybe they don’t dance, but they’re pretty versatile and you just need to take a stroll around Inema’s grounds to get an idea of the kinds of creativity that is oozing out of these artists. That sounds kind of gross, but it’s not. It’s colourful and imaginative and inspiring.

The brothers founded Inema in 2012 in an effort to share their creative passion with Rwandans and visitors alike. Rwanda has very little art in schools and no professional or post-secondary art training. The visual arts aren’t yet a very valued thing in Rwandan society and Emma and Innocent are striving to provide exposure to the country’s creative community and to change this attitude, shedding light not only on the talents within the country, but also by using “creative expression to bring the community and country alive.”

Lofty goals but these two and the other artists at Inema are off to an amazing start with their center. They’ve already hosted several very successful events from a Cinco de Mayo party to Spoken Word to an exhibition of paintings by American artist Renee Balfour . They also host yoga on Wednesday nights, Art with a Mission and the Inema Dance troupe.

The  Art with a Mission project was started by Emmanuel back in 2010. It aims to educate and engage disadvantaged youth in painting, helping them develop skills and an interest in art which might even see some of them leading the way in Rwanda’s future art scene. You can visit any Saturday between 2 and 4 pm to meet the children and see what masterpieces they’re creating.

Inema Dance helps to develop musical and artistic talent in over 40 kids from the Kacyiru area through a rigorous, positive and productive training program. The dancers perform all around Rwanda or you can pop into one of their training sessions on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday between 4:30 and 6 pm.

Inema also plays host to Nzina Artworks, a group of Rwandan women trained and then employed to sew, bead, and create everything from custom kitenge pillow cases to jewellery to goat leather bags. Their work is displayed at Inema’s Nziza showroom alongside other women’s co-ops like Songa Designs, Abraham and Azizi Life. Go in for art, leave with pillowcases! It’s the logical transition.

Each of Inema’s initiatives – Art with a Mission, Inema Dance, and Nziza Artworks – strive to produce opportunities for Rwanda’s under served communities to learn to create and then to develop livelihoods in the creative arts.

There’s a lot going on in this Kacyiru space. Stay tuned to Inema’s Facebook page and my events calendar to see what’s happening there during any given week. Or just pop in, say hello, look at some great artwork and hang out in their welcoming space.

Hours: Daily, 7am – 7pm
Phone: 0783 187 646
Email: info@inemaartcenter.com or inemaart@gmail.com
Website: http://www.inemaartcenter.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Inema-Arts-Center/402598333168213

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About Kirsty

A Canadian who left in 2001 to wander around the world in search of sun, beautiful views and goat brochettes. Found Kigali in July 2010 and it seems like the perfect fit. I expect to be here until I get kicked out for defiantly walking on the grass while wearing flip flops.