Niyonkuru's reflective style

Thursday February 14 2019

Bruce Niyonkuru

 Visual Artist Bruce Niyonkuru. PHOTO | Andrew. I Kazibwe 

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From his latest styles, to delivery as experienced by the youth, 26-year-old Bruce Niyonkuru alias Canda’s latest Artworks is geared towards making a positive impact as well as upping his visual art game.

A mixed media artist, his works, which adorn the walls of Kiyovu’s newly occupied Kuuru Arts Space in Kigali set a captivative mood, since unlike before, the artist introduces new and unique art styles.

Of figurative composition, Niyonkuru’s semi-abstract paintings depict various themes. Most of the paintings are untitled, which further draws his audience’s attention into paying greater attention and reflecting upon his message.

Onto canvas, the artist first treats the background, incorporating materials such as old cloths, papers, labelled stickers, which are attached with wood glue, before further using acrylic paints to emerge with unique images.

“Through these styles, I am trying to redefine myself, from the way I used to work, which is growth to me,” he remarks.

Unlike his previous paintings, which were more of realism, Niyonkuru’s figurative new style is one without uniform flow, yet he emerges with definite images. Like scribbles, his brush style is unpredictable.

In one painting, Niyonkuru shares his view of depression among the youth. The artist depicts two human figures in their teens who are addicted to drugs.

The artist incorporates stickers of beer, cigarettes and matches to pass on the message of alcoholism and smoking as being addictive habits gradually eating up many young people.

Typical of most of his paintings, is a background of different lines. In thick paint, these lines illustrate the synchronization of different human emotions, which the artist depicts through colours.

With belief that humans are subjected to emotional change, the artist strongly believes that reality isn’t physically vivid to humanity. “As humans, even with advancement in empowerment, most people would prefer to conceal a lot of feelings to themselves, so as not to show weakness or be the object of embarrassment, which is so dangerous,” Niyonkuru explains.

Another untitled painting, with multiple faces of babies, depicts the innocence that humanity holds at birth. Within these, images of butterflies and white markings reflect purity and happiness that are associated with toddlers.

This all changes in Self Conscience Emotions, a painting the artist is holding. Despite the adult faces, this one still holds the butterfly images, but with various darker and warm colours, reflective of a mixture of human emotion that adults hold.

To the artist, such are vivid expressions resulting from when one looks into the mirror, and realises reality. This is beyond the physical look and goes deeper to suggest meditation and understanding of other people.

Niyonkuru also tackles the issue of teenage pregnancy, where he blames media for its influence in sparking it through uncensored content that is readily available on various media platforms, yet it is clear that such unfettered freedom is not part of the solution to curbing it.

The artist depicts an image of a mother and her daughter, who is the victim. The painting is peppered with burnt-out newspapers, reflective of the turmoil media brings.

Niyonkuru plans to venture into digital painting, which he will incorporate into his works as he seeks to showcase and expound on diverse societal themes.