a Key to Community

What does it mean to grow up beyond the borders of one’s community?

The Rwandan/German artist NUKWAMI responds to these questions through his artistic journey. His colorful works reconnect with his Rwandan roots and are a means to discover an ever-expanding self.

Agaciro - Life is a Miracle

Agaciro is a Kinyarwanda word, which can be translated into "self-dignity" or self-worth.  It is one of the a key values of Rwandan culture that led the country to its positive transformation after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
 A miraculous transformation may unfold when human beings become active captains of their souls and are not anymore subjected to pity lowering their self esteem.The realization as people that nobody but us hold the solution to our problems, that nobody but us have the power to change our lives, was one important achievement that contributed to Rwanda's remarkable success.

Amahoro - Exodus 

Amahoro means peace in Kinyarwanda and is often used when greeting someone. This piece was inspired by the current "apocalyptical" challenging our earth: climate change, soil degradation, ocean pollution, abuse of technology etc. It expresses the feel that humanity stands at the crossroad to a destructive path or a sustainable future.

Ibigabiro - Who Do You Think You Are

Who do we think we are? What makes us us? In Rwanda, when a family member passes away, the community plants a tree in its memory. As the tree spreads its roots through the land, it becomes not only a living memorial but also a symbol of eternity and a place where the community can reconnect with the ancestors and access the cultural heritage at any time.

Intore - Dance With Your True Power

This work was inspired by the word ‘Intore’ which means warrior in Kinyarwanda. The traditional dance of Rwandan warriors showcases determination, fearlessness, readiness and supposedly integrates the qualities of a lion as well as those of a bird, the crown crane. Smiling, elegant movements mimic the courtship of crown cranes. Each warrior wears a lion mane like wig, a spear and his shield during his dancing performance.

Koroshya Ubuzima - The Best is About to Come

The Rwandan saying "Koroshya Ubuzima" can be translated as "Take it easy or relax". It suggests that when facing a challenge or hitting a wall in life, we should step back and take time to reflect, instead of forcing our way through. Trust and patience are keys to mutually beneficial outcomes.

Kumenya - Love Can Save You

A dream encounter with a calf Goddess led to an artistic exploration of cultural and historical discoveries as well as spiritual practices on the African continent. Kumenya in Kinyarwanda can be translated as "to know". 

Ubumuntu - The World is Yours

The Kinyarwanda word ubumuntu can be translated variously, not just as “humanity” but also as a phrase: “I am because you are”.  It relates to the African philosophy of Ubuntu, humanism and the idea that everyone is connected to everyone else. That one person exists because of other people or beings, which includes a compassionate life according to mutual respect.

Umurinzi - Rise in the Grace of Glory

This work was inspired by a vision of a glorious heroine and graceful guardian protecting life. In Kinyarwanda Umurinzi can be translated as guardian or protector. According to legends Umurinzi is also the name of a sacred protector tree.