I once wrote something about Rigobert Uwiduhaye, an environmental artist and co-founder of Agati Library. My last encounter with the Musanze-based artist took place when I dropped by his workshop to donate books for the kids who use his library.
After delivering the donations, I spent some time studying the artwork he had just finalized. I looked at the combination of color and texture, I observed the juxtaposition of objects. I mused over shadows and dimensions.
My attempt to interpret this artwork created more questions than answers. When I realized I was overthinking, I deducted complexity from the equation and added simplicity. The result was clarity.
As mentioned above, Rigobert is an environmental artist. He preaches the gospel of environmental conservation through art. Nature is the language I understand very well. However, while trying to figure out what the painting communicated, I avoided jumping to snap conclusions.
The said artwork looked more like a photograph than a painting. At a glance, I saw what my clouded mind perceived to be a scenery reproduced electronically. When I took a closer look, I spotted canvas and paint. Hidden behind what my eyes were able to discern were hours and hours of work.
The artwork I am talking about was an artistic impression of two buffaloes drinking water. A couple of yards away, a crocodile was partially submerged in the water. The whole thing looked like a paused video. Through my optical illusions, I clicked the play button and saw the crocodile moving closer and closer, ready to attack. Crocodiles are formidable aquatic reptiles — So strong that they prey on the mighty buffaloes.
Looking at Rigobert’s artwork, I saw danger looming. The poor buffaloes were quenching their thirst. Unbeknownst to them, someone was plotting their deaths.
As I pondered life in the animal kingdom, Rigobert informed me that the two buffaloes stood a chance. Surviving a potentially dangerous attack was lilkely because they outnumbered their predator. "This painting is titled The Power of Two. Teaming up is a common defense mechanism in the jungle." He told me. Wildlife will never stop amazing me.