It’s been a few months since the opening of the Azizi Life Studio in Kigali. There’s been a lot of art, lots of craft, and apparently, lots of delicious food to boot! We caught up with Chantal, the manager of the Studio, to find out how it’s been going.
What is the vision for the Azizi Life Studio, and what do you hope it will bring to the art and craft scene in Kigali?
Our vision is to create a space in Kigali where people can go and learn cultural art and craft. We also had a vision of seeing traditional craft – the kind that our artisans’ grandmothers would have made, passed down and made accessible to this generation.
Our studio is more than an Art and Craft Studio: people will gather with their friends and family and craft for fun. They can even meet new friends. We want to start a community that celebrates Rwandan culture through traditional and modern art and craft.
Art and Craft lovers have a place near to them to go and make their own craft, or take a class with a skilled artisan, or both!
What difference does it make to the artisans?
The Studio is another source of income for the artisans. All of the materials used are locally and fairly sourced. Apart from the series of ‘make your own craft projects’, people also have a chance to buy beautiful fair-trade crafts made by our artisan partners.
Most of our customers, after finishing making their own crafts buy ones made by our artisans. It’s a win-win for the artisans.
What have been some of the more memorable sessions so far?
We had a group of students from Dove Montessori school make their own Imigongo paintings. There were 27 in that group – the largest number we’ve had so far. Everything went very well. The children enjoyed hearing the story of Imigongo and seeing Alex (the artisan from the cooperative that makes them) creating a new design. So far, as part of our ‘Flavourful Fridays’, we’ve had Wine and Craft, Chocolate and Craft, and Brownies and Craft, but one of my favourite sessions was the Cheesecake and Craft night. The cheesecake from J-Lynns, a local business and social enterprise, was so delicious, and of course painting Imigongo was fun too!
Are there any new developments coming up in the next few months for people to look out for?
We are developing a new Imigongo design for the Rwandan Independence Day in July, and we’ll be having more ‘Flavourful Fridays’, so keep an eye out for those!
For more information on what’s happening at the Studio, everything you need to know is here: https://azizilife.com/visit-rwanda/studio/