Artists go for audience at home

Sunday March 31 2019


Deo Munyakazi and troupe perform during an Artery show at Kigali’s Iwawe hotel.  PHOTO | ANDREW.I KAZIBWE  

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Taking entertainment beyond traditional joints like restaurants and discotheques is gaining popularity in Rwanda after artists adopted Artery — a concept that takes performances closer home. 

Artery has come to link up artists to audiences that are ready to consume live artistic expressions at the latter’s convenience. Initiated years ago in the Canada by Salimah Y. Ebra- him and Vladic Ravich, Artery has turned homes and yards into entertainment joints at the convenience of the audience.

From restaurant, hotels and bar spaces, to rooftops, home living rooms and backyards, artists are gradually moving live shows under Artery where the audience are.

“After learning of the Ar- tery concept, I organised one performance at the rooftop of my apartment in Brooklyn, New York,” recalls Den- nis Muganza, a Rwandan artist. “I invited ten of my friends, and three more of my friends invited more people, who all didn’t know

each other,” he adds.

“Retuning back home, I realised how I had already been paid via my PayPal account, which was so amaz- ing,” he adds. Artery basically empowering artists to better their art presentation and gives them chances to get paid. But before it all, Muganza had tasted something similar to this. In 2016, he held a show at the now Kigali’s Chomad, which surprised him “I had not been in Rwanda for a while, which I feared could scare away those who would come if I had charged an entrance fee,” he recalled.


To his dismay, his performance attracted a quite larger number of people, yet he collected some amount of money he found satisfying,

“People gave me willingly, as they embraced my perfor- mance,” he said. To Muganza, it is a bless- ing approaching most venue owners, since these are more focused onto making a sale out of their drinks, hence readily welcoming the con- cept. When he held the first Artery in November last year at Kigali’s Mamba Club, a good feedback it was.

This followed another at a home backyard in Gachuriro last year, which followed sever- al others this year at Kigali’s Iwawe Hotel, Kacyiru and Kigali Centre of Photography in Kacyiru. “It comes at a time when we really welcome diverse events, since we are also a networking and creative space,” said Jaques Nkinzingabo, Kigali Centre of Photography administrator. “It’s an opportunity for artists in Rwanda to get what they deserve,” said Dennis Muganza, an artist, and one of the pioneers of this initiative in Rwanda. 

Set at mostly at quiet spaces, after readily embracing the idea, Artery performances in Rwanda set on a cozy, intimate mood for the audiences they attract.

Not advertised through mainstream media, these events have so far relied on social media platforms, through which they are gradually building a network of both artists and art lovers. On staging one, there is no straight formula the event follows, yet with each session, it systematically captures both the performers, and the audience.

“It’s about organising it in secret places, like homes,” he states, but in Rwanda, which has not yet fully demarcated commercial from residential spaces, most spaces are diverse,” he added.