Belgium’s ROA debuts EA mural

Sunday November 5 2017

ROA’s enormous mural, an Okapi, adorns the

ROA’s enormous mural, an Okapi, adorns the Hotel Okapi in Kigali, Rwanda. PHOTO | ANDREW KAZIBWE | NATION 

By ANDREW I KAZIBWE
More by this Author

A mural by visiting Belgian artist ROA is the talk of town. It is the artist’s first artwork in East Africa. Murals are a growing art form in Rwanda.

The country holds a rich environmental history and this collaboration with ROA was seen as a unique, inspiring way of promoting conservation.

ROA is a private artist and he barely shows himself in public. He also likes to keep his personal life private when being interviewed and prefers his artwork to speak for itself.

The artist, who likes working with black and white paint, is inspired by nature. This is especially reflected in his realism art works that examine the relationship between man and the environment.

On his visit to Rwanda, the artist toured some parts of Kinigi village, Musanze district in the Northern Province and got to sightsee the wildlife.
“Nature is a great inspiration that drives my passion for what I do,” he told Rwanda Today.

ROA’s enormous mural, an Okapi, adorned Kigali’s Hotel Okapi, in the city centre from October 24- 29.

Largest mural artwork

Using a crane to hoist himself up, the artist created the piece using spray paints. He created what is being termed the largest mural artwork in Rwanda. The mural, which aims to promote environmental conservation through art-based activism and community engagement, attracted many Kigali residents.

ROA is considered one of the most influential muralists of our time. The Belgian artist is known for creating massive black and white paintings of animals that examine the relationship between humanity and the environment.

His art has been featured in major cities such as London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Sydney, Moscow, Mexico City, Cape Town and other prominent galleries and museums around the world.

ROA toured Kinigi village from October 19- 21, where he created smaller artworks at the Rwanda Development Board facilities. He also gave a private Artist Talk about art, activism, and conservation to local artists.
The artist’s visit was part of a project led by Kurema, Kureba, Kwiga, a local social-enterprise that focuses on the use of street-art to engage society in creating positive social change. Other partners of the project were the Rwanda Development Board, the Belgium Embassy, Kigali Goethe Institut and Rwanda Arts Initiative.

The project will also feature public exhibitions and screening events in November, according to the organisers.