Talking. About my art and my project with interested people. Painters. Media-designers, a writer, musicians. We find ourselves in deep discussions about art, Africa and Europe, Religion – all that is so interesting to talk about with someone from somewhere else. I could imagine, that there will be much support for my project from the local cultural scene. And I am glad that I still have time. It takes time to be moving and understanding in this country. We share a history, but the perspective to it is completely different. Colonization is not an easygoing subject to raise. We can talk, but carefully, awake and slow.
At some point the presentation of a project I do in Germany („Das Gemeindebild“) runs in the background of our talking via the video projector. I suddenly find myself under severe questioning. How can art cooperate with religious institutions without loosing its freedom? Most of the colleagues in the audience are suspicious. But I think, with time and open mind, we were sculpting some important differences in the state-of-mind of Europe and Africa.
At least that is what I strongly felt.
Close to the city-hall, painters are working on the street, surrounded by curious people. Here I meet Strong again, a Kigali painter I know from his German visit in 2012. It is the first time ever in Ruanda, that artists are working on the street. I am invited to join them on Monday and I will.
In Nyamirambo carpenters are producing the frame for my treasure-painting canvas. It is hard to explain what I want and first it went wrong. And I got lost in the maze of Nyamirambo searching for them. But the piece of work they have been handcrafting is beautiful!
I have been talking much about “dignity” of artists, art and the process of art making with many people and from many perspectives. Artists, society, government, family, economy, tourism, husbands, wives and children: a fabric of commitments, difficult to figure out.
I have no solutions to offer, but more and more I feel like there is some importance in just being here and talk-watch-ask and tell. As an artist from Europe, taking things serious here in Kigali.
Did some drawings today. It helps me to understand why I feel uneasy. The reason is: I came here with all this Material from Germany. It is not, that the people here are not working with these things. They do. But where do they buy it? It is shipped here from abroad, I mean by plane or with a car from Uganda. You need to do an expedition to by acrylic paint. And oil paint? No way, nowhere!
I don’t like, that I am affirming this by importing all this paint. As if it was not possible to do art without. Naturally it is! Working with simple material like pencils makes me feel better. I think that maybe I will look around what I find here and better make use local stuff. And leave my imported acrylics to the people here or to a school.
Up there you see a photo of the starting day, taken by Philine, one of the volunteers at the partnership bureau Rwanda/RLP. I don´t think that in the end I will be doing a wall-painting, but for now it good not to have the borders of a canvas. The owners of my hotel are fine with the idea. If they will not like it, the room will be renovated.
Now the first days have passed, I have taken a glimpse of Kigalis antagonistic identities. My studio is about to be ready for work and I just need a better light equipment for the photographing. On one of the cities hills (Gacuriro), lies the Kwetu Film Institut, a school for filmmakers. Today I went there to ask, if I could lend some technical things, which was granted (Great! Many thanks!).
Additionally we settled a cooperation and I will be doing an artists-talk there at September 19th. That will help me much getting into contact with the art- and cultural scene. I think Kwetu center (http://kwetufilminstitute.com/) with its cafes, hotel and working-spaces is a cultural hot spot in Kigali and I am honored much by this invitation.
Up there in this post you see one of their presentation rooms.
Afrika. Kigali am Freitag nachmittag. Ali holt mich ab vom Flughafen im Auto des Partnerschaftsbüros. Am Abend schnell in eine Einkaufsgegend um eine Sim-Karte fürs Telefon und Internet zu besorgen. Was für ein rätselhafter Trubel. Kulturschock. Afrika.
An der Tür zu meinem Zimmer eine Gottesanbeterin. Tausendfüssler, Ameisen. Alles viel zu groß. Ich weiß noch nichts und verkrieche mich unter das Moskito-Netz. Überfordert und froh.