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RWANDA: Cultivating Peace

One of my works will be shown as part of the exhibition Cultivating Peace at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda. The show is up through 08/16/2024. This project is curated by superartist Trine Bumiller

As part of the curatorial call, artists were asked to make work on the subject of creating, maintaining, and ensuring a future free of war and conflict. I sat wrestling with this for a long time... while I’ve worked directly to serve people fleeing violence from around the world, I quite obviously do not know the answer. However, the civilian people of Rwanda have come very close, and are doing the work toward this goal every day.

The Kigali Genocide Memorial leads the way for several organizations to promote peace and prevent genocide / war in Rwanda. The Memorial programming and vision focuses on 5 peace-building goals within Rwanda:

commemoration of the victims of the 1994 Tutsi genocide;

education about this and other genocides throughout global history;

prevention of future genocides;

documentation / archiving evidence of the genocide and the testimonies of survivors;

and to provide survivor support to include trauma healing

As research for this work and exhibition, I listened to the oral testimonies of survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis, perpetrators found guilty of genocide crimes in gacaca courts, and “rescuers” (those who hid Tutsis, helped them survive, or refused to carry out the genocide). The experience of sifting through these important archives and being a witness to the testimonies so many years later (I was 4 years old when the genocide happened) was absolutely devastating and moving.

The whole world looked away and let it happen.

Colonizers planted the seeds of this genocide. 

It’s maddening to see the world ignoring genocides to this very day, literally today, when so many Rwandans, (and others around the world) have drawn the blueprints for prevention of incitement. 

This work is in honor of all Rwandans who are committed to nurturing the roots of lasting peace through understanding, listening, and serving each other. It’s an encaustic collage, called At the Roots.

At the Roots, encaustic collage. 2024.


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