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Carole Karemera – healing social trauma through the arts

Carole Karemera – healing social trauma through the arts

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“It’s a fantastic experimental place to live…”

“It was a hard wake-up call…!”

“We need to educate all of us…”

“We need to keep Rwanda as a laboratory…”

“We need to play the role of the bridge…”

I caught up with Carole Karemera during the “hellwach” (bright-awake) 6th International Theatre Festival for young audiences at the Helios Theater in Hamm, later also witnessed one of their performances of “Little Hill”, a theatre play for people from 4 years old, and recorded the after-performance talk with Carole and her team. Carol pursued a successful career as a saxophone player, film and theatre actress and contemporary dancer. She is the director and founding member of the Ishyo Art Centre in Kigale.

link to playlist 1 of interview and further intro

The main part of our conversation is dedicated to Carole’s description of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and especially, the role that women played in the genocide. Carole then recounts for us the courageous journey of women in the arts in Rwanda, who picked up the task of listening carefully to the needs of their society and the daunting process of reworking their historical “heritage”, the social trauma of genocide together with perpetrators and victims and the new generations.

link to playlist 2 of interview and further intro

In 2005, together with eight other women, they founded a cultural initiative to respond to the needs of their country and society through arts and creative projects, beginning with storytelling in schools, later in bars. The initiative became “Ishyo Art Centre”, a vibrant cultural centre in Kigale. The centre offers space and opportunities for artists to develop and produce new work as well as a varied programme of events and workshops, which seeks to make arts and culture available for everyone.

Carole emphasizes the heightened awareness of women in the arts in Rwanda for the troubles and needs of societies elsewhere on the continent and their wish, hope and willingness to share their valuable experiences widely, and especially with their sistaz in Africa.

link to playlist of clips from Carole’s interview

link to playlist of the after-performance talk with the team of Ishyo Art Centre Kigali

imageWith this post, we are opening a new additional page of Contributions “from the far sides of the Zambezi” in our audio-library of the stories of African women. The posts will be on the blog for 10 days, then they will move to the special page of contributions with a small reference and link remaining on the front page.

 

Carole Karemera on the All Africa Sound Map. Contribute your recordings and place African arts and culture on the global map!

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