By Ange Theonastine Ashimwe
We cannot argue about this, art is as natural as breathing to East Africans. When you look at the masterpieces of East African art, it really shows the scope and excellence of the work being done through the arts. Abdoul Mujyambere is one of those people who continues to give deeper meaning to the arts of the region. He is a Rwandan visual and performing artist based and working in Kigali, Rwanda.
Some of his incredible works include The Memoire (2017), The Videotape (2017), Racontre (2016), Flashes (2016), Roses (2016), Face-Off (2014), and many others. He has performed in all East African countries, as well as in in the USA, Asia, and also spend time in Senegal in an Afro-contemporary dance program.
From his contemporary dances, yoga, capoeira, physical theatre to photography, he believes in the power of the beauty of art as a way towards positive social change for humanity. In visual art, he focuses on the human body in relation to space, sound, and time.
He is known for maintaining constant eye contact with his audience as he dances, while his clothes drag along rhythmically to his moves. Mujyambere seeks to preserve Afro-contemporary dance and African rituals, which he considers to be part of the identity of an African contemporary Dancer.
EA Scene caught up for a chat with Mujyambere.
What made you want to express yourself through art?
I didn’t choose Art. In 2010, when I was starting University, someone, a family friend, came and took me to a contemporary dance art company called Inshoza which was a student’s dance company. So the friend knew my father and thought that since my father was a martial artist, I too would like contemporary dance. And he was absolutely right, here I am, ten years later, as a professional contemporary artist.
What would you like to be remembered for?
What a tough question! I would like to contribute and mark our presence on the earth with soulful Art and good deeds and becoming a source of light to others.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
In 2010, I discovered Art through contemporary dance, and it remains to be my greatest achievement so far. In 2014, I got a scholarship to follow a theater professional training program in the USA, Massachusetts. I also started photography this same year.
In 2015, I got another scholarship of 3 years Diploma in African traditional dances and contemporary dance in Senegal (Ecole des Sables) and graduated in 2017. In 2018, I had my first theater tour in France for many months for A project known as “EJO NEJOBUNDI” which is still touring update.
In 2019, it was a year of growth in my journey as an artist. A lot of artistic collaborations, photography exhibitions and shows in Rwanda, Madagascar, Mauritius, France, and Brussels. I also started other 2 new art forms; Yoga and Fashion designing. I also had a 200 hours Yoga scholarship by Africa Yoga Project in Kenya.
About my fashion new passion, I had an idea of creating my own vision in the modern fashion world since 2015, but it wasn’t until this year that I released my first clothing outfits and am still working on this clothing new project exploring different fabrics’ layers and colors.
Now, we have another theater project “Les enfant d’ Amazi” which is also touring in Brussels where I’m living now. This same year, I did my first photography project “Body Memories”.
How do you see East Africa Art as a whole in five years to come?
Art is developing fast here in Rwanda, and in East Africa, some countries like Kenya and Tanzania already has big names. I believe this African art revolution is going to expand even farther in 5 years to come. Africa has a lot to offer especially in the art industry world. I hope the African government will increase their support to local artists as well as investing in artists, arts education, art facilities.
Photography project named “Body Memory” by Abdoul MUJYAMBERE