Epaphrodite Binamungu’s profound legacy in visual art is experience to reckon with. Lately, as Rwanda marks its 27th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, his artworks, quite resonate with the country’s theme of reconciliation.
His passion and devotion to the brush could be one today’s generation witnesses through the recent exhibitions and joint workshops he has staged, but his craft is one spanning decades. Adorning the Rwanda Art Museum’s ground floor, in the extreme left corner are artworks of Binamungu, which aren’t the usual ornamentals. It is evident how his lens sought through what many dreamt of in craft.
Dating as far as 2006, when they were made, these artworks, which include paintings and an installation, were part of the Institute of the National Museums of Rwanda’s annual open Call to Action, where artists were incorporated into a competition to create works that were reflective on peace for Rwanda’s unity and reconciliation.
With Binamungu winning since then, his works were acquired by the museum in 2006, where to they are as part of the museum’s permanent showcase.
Among these is one entitled Igitabo Cy’Amahoro (Book of Peace), which is a large mixed media painting on canvas measuring 240cm by 140cm. Indeed, designed like a book, the three-piece semi-abstract craft depicts a group of people being embraced by doves, which fly overhead as a sign of peace.
The background shows the hills that adorn Rwanda, while above all, is the sun, which shines upon all.
Another entitled Amahoro Kuri buri wese (Peace for all People), constitutes of larger doves fl ying overhead the hilly lands. These are occupied by masses of people.
Adding a twist to his craft, the artist takes his audience to another adventure in the craft. His diversity sees him emerging with Intumwa y’Amahoro (Taxi for Peace), a mixed-media installation of divergent make. Using an old motorcycle, which he paints with Acrylics, mixed with sawdust and Sand. Onto this motorcycle, a Dove takes hold of the hand paddles, while the foot pedals too are occupied by shoes, but without legs.
Through this particular collection, Binamungu uses a dove, this symbolizes peace, whist emulating it also as an unseen leader in direction.
“Following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, I thought through on how to integrates the peace themes into my works,” he remarks.
Through his creations, Binamungu has then, each year produces Artworks that depict peace.
As part of the Kigali Gisozi Genocide memorial center’s Art archives collection, the 67-year old artist, who is a graduate in Bio-Chemistry, holds more paintings on the peace theme too.