Emmanuel Nkuranga -- Mixed Media
Artist Emmanuel Nkuranga
The second born in a family of six boys, Emmanuel lived in Uganda for the first ten years of his life. He describes his parents as “calm and happy” which is very believable when you spend time with the artist. His father is an Anglican priest.
Emmanuel played a lot of sports during his childhood, such as soccer and basketball, and still does as an adult. This really is not too shocking, because Emmanuel strikes one as a playful person and this exuberance for life translates into his art.
The artist moved to Rwanda in 1997 and attended two different high schools. He then attended Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) . He speaks English, Kinyarwanda, Luganda, a little Swahili and some French. His mother passed away in 2001. The artist says he is close to his dad and his four brothers who live in Kigali.
Emmanuel started his artistic career drawing “Tom and Jerry” style cartoons with his brothers. He says they would draw pictures of every day events like a “dog chasing a rabbit”. While in high school, he visited his uncle, Sanna Gateja, who is a painter and Emmanuel says he got his passion for painting from him.
Then he met Collin Sekajugo, a well known Rwandan artist, and Collin inspired him “to start playing with paintings”. It was 2004 when Collin showed him how to transform sketches into paintings and made him believe art was “doable”. Nkurunziza Innocent who also inspired him to continue painting while he was pursuing his studies at the university!
Nkuranga does paintings and mixed media works and has also done a few found object pieces. He uses acrylic on canvas and also local materials, like the woven circles often worn as earrings by women in Rwanda. He prefers to work in a semi-abstracted style.
The artists reveals that he mixes textures with his acrylic and then shapes the paint with his palette knife. This innovation has allowed the artist to create a medium he can really mold to his desires. Barkcloth has become an integral part of the canvas surface at the top of this work.
The forms of the women have become abstracted into beautiful shapes of color outlined in bold black, the tops of their head shown as simple black circles, but they are not so abstracted that we lose their significance as the subject of the painting.
His art is playful, but no less mature or beautiful, for that quality. And Emmanuel is very serious about helping orphans through his program called Art with a Mission. This project which he started in 2010, involves the artist and his friends going to two different orphanages, MPORE, in Gikondo, Rwanda and a FIDESCO orphanage in Kigali. They bring supplies with them and give the teenagers, ages 14 to 17, lessons in “playing with painting.” They try to hold classes two times a week. Emmanuel had an exhibition at the Kigali International Airport where half of the proceeds went towards his program.
The artists is multitalented and has designed websites for other artists and also creates pieces which incorporate old machine parts, such as pieces of radios and even motherboards. One gets the sense that Emmanuel really enjoys exploring and playing with new media.
He often uses the expression “playing with painting” and it is so apt as he clearly enjoys creating his beautiful pieces and the viewer can then vicariously participate in the play and the fun. In addition, the viewer absorbs the beauty of his works and an understanding of Rwandan culture in the same moment. One wonders where the artist will go next on his exploration of art.
January - February 2010: The Dedication, Venue L’Assassino, Gorthenburg, Sweden.
March - April 2010: Kigali International Airport.
2010: Isoko colours at Laico hotel Kigali.
2010: Group Exhibition at American Embassy.
2009: Ivuka Art launch at heaven.
2009: Group Exhibition at American Embassy.
2008: Ivukaarts Aniversary at Heaven restaurant.
2008: Jazz for peace at Serena Hotel.
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