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  • To Rwandan Creativity: Welcoming A Cohort of Rising New Talents To Rwandan Creativity: Welcoming A Cohort of Rising New Talents

    A new ArtRwanda-Ubuhanzi cohort is here!

    Imbuto Foundation is currently completing phase one of its third cohort of the ArtRwanda-Ubuhanzi Programme, which scours through Rwanda for the best creative new talents, aiming to nurture them into success. The last two cohorts have introduced us to bright new artists who have entertained us, inspired us, and taught us about the power of art to protect and transmit our rich Rwandan culture and tradition. From Michael Makembe’s unparalleled voice, Maison Munezero by Vainqueur Munezero’s unique flair, to Clementine Uwimpuhwe’s poignant creations, our Abahanzi have made us proud! We are grateful to be able to provide a platform through which they can thrive.

    For Imbuto Foundation, engaging talent, particularly in our youth, is a heart’s calling. The vision of our Chairperson First Lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame has traced the path ahead, placing the empowerment of our youth at the crux of our mission. For the last two (plus) decades, she has emphasized that no social, community-centered intervention can be complete, without answering to all aspects of the life it aims to serve. For example, what is the long-term effectiveness of health service interventions, if they fail to address the root causes of poor health conditions? Financial stability, mental wellness and social empowerment are all vital to a healthy life. How can our society thrive and provide the ideal soil, through which all our seeds can flourish, if we do not answer to the various needs of our population, in self-expression and in entrepreneurship? As long as we aim to serve, we hope to be tackling these questions.
    We have endeavoured to think laterally, and the creative industry has been a wonderful source of learning, in that regard. The lessons have been plenty. For one, we were compelled to recognise that art is more than a source of joy and leisure for those that it touches. Art and creation are a developmental tool. They are supplementary to our booming tourism industry and thus, our growing economy. They bridge the gap where communication between different cultures, between Rwandans and their guests, between Rwandans themselves, is not quite obvious or easy. Powerful art speaks directly to the soul, cutting through language and cultural barriers. This gift is invaluable, and it has been a pure blessing to be exposed to, and to be allowed to mentor, this many generous hearts.

    This effort is not without merit in its context. While Rwanda’s creative landscape is yet to gain global acclaim, art has consistently been a pivotal force in our cultural dissemination. From the customary Itorero to our tradition of “Kwivuga,” a precursor to Spoken Word, Rwandan culture and art are deeply interconnected. Hence, it seems only logical to cultivate a society where adept artists receive recognition for their talents, enabling their craft to become a substantial, financially rewarding, and full-time profession.

    The creative industry can indeed be a jungle, for many young people with the bravery to face all the adversity it entails. Nevertheless, creativity and inspiration can only reside in homes where they are nurtured. If we are receptive to art’s uniting and healing power, we must do our part in facilitating its emergence, growth and impact. This third ArtRwanda-Ubuhanzi edition, Imbuto Foundation is looking forward to catering as closely to the needs of our Abahanzi as possible, by expanding its number of categories, seeking out methods for longer lasting impact, and empowering niche talents. We are grateful for the engagement of our past cohorts, who have shared lessons from their experience and have allowed us to finetune this initiative. Just like their skills, we do get better with time.

    This cohort, we ask the Rwandan audience to keep supporting our artists. We hope that they share their work, engage with our Abahanzi, and be ready to show up for the concerts, exhibitions, and the launches of our laureates’ creations.

    After all, they do it all for us. We are immensely thankful to them, and to you, the public that welcomes them with open hearts. We are grateful for the devotion of our judges and mentors, who have poured effort and love into guiding our new talents to success. Let us all make you proud.

    Thank you for reading, and happy new cohort!