Born in Masaka, Uganda, Collin Sekajugo, following artistic study tours to over 15 countries around the world, returned to Rwanda in early 2007 with a mission to “USE ART TO CHANGE LIVES.”
For nearly a decade, these words have become more than a credo for the self-taught artist, who dedicated himself to founding and directing the first Arts Contemporary arts center in Rwanda i.e Ivuka Arts. An ambitious arts organization, Ivuka has for the past 6 years been committed to building community through the arts by providing promising young artists the skills, platform, and exposure through which they may blossom as Rwanda’s next generation of cultural entrepreneurs and ambassadors.
Doesn’t life seem to be meaningless when you keep seeing your people lingering in ignorance and extreme poverty? For what i want my community to look like, i always feel obligated to work restlessly by turning this seemingly ugly picture into a beautiful one. That’s what i do for a living.
Ivuka’s creative activities include a joint studio space for visual artists and a Children traditional dance troupe, Rwamakondera (Rwandan Horns) that brings together disadvantaged children from very poor backgrounds and teaches them dance skills to heal, educate and give them a sense of hope for the future. Today Ivuka prides itself for producing most of Rwanda’s current emerging artists like Richard Karekezi, Jean Bosco Bakunzi, Innocent Nkurunziza to mention a few.
In Uganda, Collin Sekajugo founded WEAVER BIRD – Community for the Arts, where he works with artists from all over East Africa to transform a once very poor village a little outside Masaka town into the first of its kind, a Community for the Arts and a Community Tourism hub for East Africa. Weaver Bird’s major objective is to bridge the gap between the arts and community.
Within the first two years of its inception, Weaver Bird arts community has made a huge stride in terms of community development by opening the first public sculpture park in East Africa; Camp Ndegeya Sculpture Park which is now home to multiple sculptures done by regional artists, an establishment of the International Artists Residency program which is running under a brick house which was built by the founder himself, the opening of a community arts center; Ndege Ya Akili which brings together local youth under one roof to learn or develop artistic skills which may eventually create jobs that provide for them and their families and last but not least, the opening of a community children’s library; COCHICO Lib which aims at promoting early literacy within the village. www.weaverbirdartscommunity.org.
Sekajugo’s own artwork reflects on his social conscience; the link between art and community and the desire for social transformation in Africa. Sekajugo has travelled extensively in Africa, Europe and North America while participating at international artists’ conferences, workshops and residencies through which he is quickly gaining international name recognition. His artwork holds the distinction of being displayed as permanent collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington DC on top of other various public and corporate collections in East Africa, South Africa, Japan, Europe and the USA.