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Preaching the gospel of environmental conservation through art

Preaching the gospel of environmental conservation through art

Two days ago, I wrote something about Rigobert Uwiduhaye, an environmental artist who happens to be the founder of Agati Library. My latest encounter with the Musanze-based artist took place when I dropped by to deliver a donation from Exposure Digital for the benefit of the aforementioned library.

After delivering the donation, I spent some time studying the artwork Rigobert 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 removed complexity from the equation and applied 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. In addition, 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 hit. As strong as buffaloes are, they fall victims to crocodile attacks quite often. Crocodiles are formidable acquatic reptiles. They prey on massive creatures all the time.

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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