For many, sawdust and old wire mesh belong in a dumpsite, but for Gilbert Iradukunda, these are treasured materials that he uses to create “eco-friendly” art.
The 22-year old artist, known for his creativity, is incorporating eco-friendly techniques into his art. The graphic arts graduate from Nyundo School of Arts in Rubavu District is using recycled materials in his portraits and artworks on nature and wildlife.
The artist’s initial works were portraits of local celebrities, which gained him a following on social media.
“I wanted to make my art move and I was inspired by nature,” said Iradukunda.
His creations are inspired by innovative concepts and he recycles wire, sawdust, mesh and clothes and infuses them into his art pieces.
Iradukunda’s paintings are currently on display at the Inganzo Art Centre gallery.
His creative process starts with sketches of different images, then he glues on the wire mesh, sawdust or glue, then paints using acrylic.
Though his new art form is appealing due to its unique take, Iradukunda’s new worry is the heaviness of most pieces.
Unlike his previous acrylic paintings, these new works are heavier, due to recycled materials. He says the weight sometimes puts off potential clients.
His 70cm by 55cm painting titled Be Happy, features a vivid background with white cloth pieces formed into flowers using sawdust and glue.
His other piece titled À LA Decouverte, is of a black-headed zebra in a leafy environment. Iradukunda made the leaves out of cloth, wire strings and glue. The leaves are painted green.
However, this new art form takes up a lot of time and one piece can take over three weeks to finish.
Iradukunda’s paintings cost between Rwf190,000 ($220) and Rwf350,000 ($400).
He has featured in joint exhibitions like Imago Umundi at Inganzo Art Centre in 2013; the Technical and Vocational Education Training Expo in 2015; the Rwanda Arts Exhibition in 2015, which took place at Car free zone in Kigali; and in Iwacu Nyumbani, which took place from December 2017 until January 2018 at Kigali’s Inganzo Art Centre. He showcased his new art form at Inganzo.
For his first solo art exhibition, Iradukunda plans to create larger artworks and to sensitise the public about the importance of protecting the environment.