Iirumva’s artwork is a visual celebration of womanhood

Tuesday November 03 2020

The Sofa, oil on canvas by Iirumva. PHOTO | Andrew. I. Kazibwe


Every so often, art ventures down the unbeaten path, leading us into vistas unknown.

For Rwandan artists, that rare moment is when a male artist’s focus is a woman, both on canvas and in exhibition, as has done Isaac Iirumva.

For Iirumva, including women in his collections or as a general theme would just not cut it. It was all or nothing and all it became as he dedicated the whole exhibition to women’s influence and impact on society.

The artist chose oil on canvas, deploying his contemporary style to relay semi-abstract images.

Mr Iirumva focuses on the expressive images, to pass on his messages, making him an outstanding visual story teller.

And for the past two weeks, Iirumva has held court at the Indiba Art Centre in Kimihurura, Kigali, treating art goers to 20 of his works celebrating the woman in his exhibition dubbed Female Artistic Maturity.


Female Artistic Maturity captures a woman’s potential, influence, power and grace in changing the world.

For example, Ta femme te regarde, a 100cm by 86cm painting shows a woman standing between two suited men.

Discussion portrays women in conversation at a meeting while A Pose is an 80cm by 60cm painting a woman portraying freedom and beauty.

Art is also bold — some say cheeky — and Iirumva does not shy away from trying something sensual when he takes on public affection and romance with The Sofa of a couple on the sofa while one from the many variants local gods form is of a nude female figure, while Madam Humour, is a dark image of a female.

The self-made artist, has since 2013 grown steadily through his brush works, as seen in his provocative, satirical remake of mostly human images portraying activities he deems viable.

Iirumva is inspired through the day to day experiences of society. With this exhibition one is left pondering how and why a male artist chose female maturity as his theme but quickly appreciates the artist’s bravery in choice.