Kambali wins local and global accolades

Friday February 26 2021

Visual artist Sam Kambali. PHOTO | ANDREW. I KAZIBWE


The Rwandan arts industry has produced artists with astonishing works to propell them.

One such artist is Sam Kambali. Making way into Inshuti Art Centre’s gallery, new art spaces in Kacyiru, amidst the vast collection by various artists, are two magnificent art pieces that adorn the gallery’s walls.

This assortment of waste materials; crafted out of recycled small kitenge fabric pieces placed on the canvas, then complemented by brushstrokes of acrylic paints, Kambali emerges with beautiful unique mixed media works.

But as an art form, mixed media is  subtle and you have to be talented to grasp it; it’s only masters like the great Pablo Picasso whose works better set a trend, Kambali lives up to the test by the following suit, but with a twist to it all.

For their streamlined make, the artist displays tiny images of African women, definitely adorned in the famous African fabric.

With him having chosen a unique path in craft, it is evident how Kambali invests time as a core tool. From the first assortment of kitenge pieces to aligning them, then further composing a piece backed by uniformity in the background through his skillful use of the brush and palette knife, unlike before, this raises value for them.


Themed Women Empowerment, the work of art, and the gallery, Kambali’s two-series paintings go for a steep price of Rwf4.9 million each.

Since embarking on this unique signature, the 30-year old artist has since 2017 sojourned to North American, sometimes taking trips from California to New York and Pennsylvania where he displays his work at auctions and galleries.

Kambali describes these trips to walking into the casino. He recalls one time when he pocketed a handsome fee of Rwf30 million when he sold his painting at an auction, “With these states being different in audiences, prices differed too,” he recalls.

For his make, which strikes a unique stunning beauty of designs, this art form is an upgrade from the smaller ones measuring 15cm by 20cm he used to make five years ago while working when he was at Inema Art Center in Kacyiru.

Both paintings represent the journey of life, which like his own is full of liveliness for life with delight and merry-making, so typical amongst African women.

Born Jinja, a city in Uganda, as a child Kambali liked to make illustrations in school, which wowed his peers, and in turn, made him very popular in school.

With time as he moved to Rwanda, where he completed his bachelors at Institut Superieur d'Agriculture et d'Elevage, Busogo, Rwanda’s Western province in 2012, he revived his gift into a meaningful career, hence.

With the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect being felt, Kambali too has had his share of it, hence further maximizing on selling his works online.