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Preaching the gospel of environmental conservation through art

Preaching the gospel of environmental conservation through art

I once wrote something about Rigobert Uwiduhaye, an environmental artist who happens to be the co-founder of Agati Library. My last encounter with the Musanze-based artist took place when I dropped by to deliver donations from Exposure Digital.

Before leaving Rigobert’s workshop, 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 communicates, I avoided jumping to snap conclusions.

The said artwork looks 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 got closer, I saw canvas and paint. Behind it, I saw hours and hours of work.

The artwork I am talking about is an artistic impression of two buffaloes drinking water. A couple of yards away, a crocodile is partially submerged in the water. It 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 acquatic reptiles. Fearless enough to prey on the mighty buffaloes.

Looking at Rigobert’s thought-provoking artwork, I saw danger looming. The poor buffaloes were quenching their thirst. At the same time, somebody was plotting to turn them into lunch.

As I pondered life in the animal kingdom, Rigobert informed me that the two buffaloes stand a chance of surviving a potentially deadly attack because they outnumber their predator. "This painting is titled The Power of Two. Teaming up is a common defence mechanism in the jungle." He told me.

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