On February 22nd 2013, members of ‘Dusigasire Umuco’ cooperative in Gahama cell, Kirehe sector in Kirehe district officially started the making of imigongo paintings.
Zacharie Ngenzi, one of the cooperative members says making Imigongo paintings has enabled him to pay school fees for his young brother, advising youth to embrace skills for a better future.
Sara Gaul, from penslavania and voluntary English teacher at Gatore secondary school has helped the cooperative to get financial support and market for imigongo paintings in her country, explains Ngenzi.
However, Sara, a member of Peace Corps volunteers who has been in Rwanda for 17 months says that she has learnt a lot about Rwandan art that promotes culture through working with craft cooperatives
Sara Gaul asserts: “I have so far got them Rwf500000 support in addition to teaching them English language so that they can go outside the country and sell their artworks easily.”
The executive secretary of Kirehe sector, Apollinaire Nsengiyumva thanked Sara for cooperating with crafters to promote Rwandan culture as well as improving their standards of living.
Imigongo is an art form in Rwanda that came into being in 18th century in Kibungo province (today’s Eastern Province). Traditionally done by women, it was originally used for decorations inside the walls of huts.
The Imigongo paintings are created from cow dung applied to wooden plates, which forms the structure and relief of the paintings. They often include the spiral and geometric designs in different natural colors, such as black, white and red. However, modern designs are made with more variation in colour.
Dusigasire umurimo’ cooperative started in 2004 with 15 members but has expanded its activities.