The Imigongo Cow Dung Paintings.
Rwanda is known to so far be the cleanest country in Africa. This is because it has really put much effort in conserving nature and the environment but also followed the guidelines, rules and regulations that have been put up for this exact cause. Among these is the use of cow dung for a great number of functions like getting Methane gas that most Rwandan women use when cooking and also making elegant paintings and art pieces from it. These have come to be known as the Imigongo Paintings which date back to hundreds of generations before.
It is a very uncommon sight to see cow dung being turned to a beautiful work of art, a reason as to why you should visit Rwanda so as to get a firsthand experience of your own at Rwamigongo. Here you can get to have a first class experience because you get to make the paintings yourself from arranged and scheduled classes with help from a guide that will only but direct you on the steps you should make.
This is a very distinct form of art in Rwanda that was created by a co-operative located in Nyakarambi Rwanda just near the Tanzanian border. Beside the Imigongo paintings, you can also get to see the famous falls of Rusumo that are near the Akagera National Park. These paintings are known and said to date back to the 18th Century at the Kibungo Province and also that this was an activity carried out mainly by the women. In the present day only two associations are said to keep Prince Kakira’s art form; he was the child of the Gisaka King in Rwanda’s Eastern Province.
In the past, these paintings were placed on the walls of people’s shelters unlike today where it is even placed on wooden plates and later sold to the public of which majority are tourists. They can now be used as hangings on walls.
Given Rwanda’s dreadful historical past; the genocide of 1994 the cow dung art was brought to a standstill. Today however, the art is flourishing and is a good income earner to the women and their dependant families. Despite all this, there are rare circumstances where people would opt to buy the already made paintings off the shelf other than making them which leaves the business slowly fading.
Many of these Imigongo cow dung paintings have graced the lodging and hotel facilities, the restaurants and homes in which they are placed. This has made them a major attraction to both the residents and foreigners in Rwanda.
They can be told from their bright colors that brighten up the room. They are also seen from their geometrical patterns that not only bring out an African but Rwandese touch to anyone who sees it.
These Imigongo paintings are sold and can be purchased from any part of the country and the Kigali City as well. Visitors who get their paintings from the place where these paintings are made will get to see how much value is attached and it is quite beneficial too. They can be gifted to family and or friends which in turn creates a difference to the lives of the people of Rwanda.
The Imigongo Cow Dung paintings are made from local plants that are then mixed with dung from cattle. These are the ingredients from which the paintings are made. To give them a little bit of color, certain pigments are added to the mixture depending on what kind of color is needed.
By buying these Cow dung paintings, you help keep the Rwandan art and culture alive wherever you go.