There are around five well-established art galleries in Kigali, Rwanda but limited opportunities for people outside of the city to engage with art. This is the space Judith Kaine set out to occupy when she founded Kurema Kureba Kwiga, a public art initiative that brings colour into the lives of ordinary Rwandans.
“It started with the idea of putting art into people’s lives and sharing art with more people and helping take art from the gallery context into a more social space where people have more access to it,” says Kaine.
The initiative works with local Rwandan artists and visiting artists from all over Africa to create murals in public spaces. Working with the city and homeowners to create their murals by the book, Kaine’s initiative makes sure their pieces are desired in the space they’re set to occupy.
It began with the aim to address social issues through public art. “Some of the murals in Kigali that we have shown are focussed on HIV-related stigma,” she adds, describing a mural created in collaboration with South African artist Freddie Sam at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre. The work was created to represent the support for the work of the government in the fight against HIV.
While their work has been successful so far, the initiative still struggles to import supplies into the landlocked country, but Kaine believes that this will become easier as the industry expands.
“For the future of the organisation, I hope that we can expand,” says Kaine. “So that we can do more projects concurrently and so that we can expand the variety of projects that we do, moving beyond just street painting.”