Kigali Photo Fest draws artists from all over Africa

Saturday June 8 2019

A past Kigali Photo Festival.

A past Kigali Photo Festival. PHOTO | ANDREW KAZIBWE 

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Photography exhibitions are trendy in Rwanda. The Kigali Photo Festival celebrates both local and continental photography.

The festival was started by photographers Jacque Nkinzingabo, 25, from Rwanda, and Ugandan Oscar Mukisa Kibuuka, who is also a social worker, in 2017.

Five years ago, Nkinzingabo went to Bamako to the Rencontres de Bamako, a photography festival, where he got the idea to start a similar one back home.

“I have dreamt of creating ways for photography to have a platform, to be out there,” Nkinzingabo said. “We wanted to showcase, and share African photography to the world,” he added.

The main challenge for the organisers is finding sponsors for the event.

The biennial festival will be held from June 7 to 16 in Kigali. This year’s edition has attracted photographers from over 14 countries. They include Bizimana Jean and Alice Kayibanda from Rwanda, Seydou Camara from Mali, Mutua Matheka and Brian Otieno from Kenya, Nicholas Calvin from Tanzania, Maheder Haileselassie from Ethiopia, George Senga from the DRC, Ala Kheir from South Africa, Djibril Drame from Senegal, and Papa Shabani from Uganda.


The festival will hold several exhibitions across various venues in Kigali including the Kigali Centre for Photography, Maison De Jeunes, Kandt Museum, Kigali Goethe Institut and Club Rafiki.

Activities will include panel discussions, portfolio reviews, film screenings, workshops — supported by King’s College London — and talks by curators and photography experts like Gael Ruboneka Vande Weghe, a Rwandan nature photographer, Ugandan Arts Curator Robinah Nansubuga, who is the author of Papillons du Gabon, and Carol Allen-Storey, an award-winning photojournalist who chronicles complex humanitarian and social issues.

The event will also feature a discussion with Paul Rukesha and Marie Clementine Dusabejambo, makers of the film The Faces We Lost.

Other photography festivals on the continent include the Lagos Photo Fest in Nigeria, Addis Foto Fest in Ethiopia and the Kenya Photo Festival.