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Artist ‘Selek Arts’ showcases the dignity behind the hands that feed us

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In a world where glamour and fame often steal the spotlight, there’s an artist who has chosen to turn his attention to the unsung heroes of our society – the everyday people who do simple jobs that keep the wheels of our lives turning.

Seleman Kubwimana, known as Selek Arts is a talented painter hailing from Kigali, has embarked on a mission to showcase the dignity and importance of the hands that feed us through his remarkable artwork.

To begin painting, he attended the Ecole D’Arts De Nyundo, Rubavu, an art school. Like everyone else, I had Ordinary Level studies. I later decided to pursue artistic studies because he felt he had a passion for it. He went there after graduating from high school in 2014, 2015, and 2016. In 2017, which is when he began working professionally.

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Selek’s latest series of paintings focuses on the supply chain for food, from the agricultural heartland of Musanze to the bustling city of Kigali. By highlighting the men and women who toil tirelessly to ensure food reaches our tables, he aims to elevate their role and remind us of their immense contributions.

When asked about his inspiration, Kubwimana speaks passionately, ” In Kigali, there is a process that we go through in order to get a finished product. Some people use boats to transport products from different islands. I wanted to bring attention to the often-overlooked laborers who are an integral part of the food supply chain,” he said.

“Their work is essential and deserves recognition. Through my art, I hope to honor their dignity and shed light on the intricate processes that bring food from the provinces to our plates.”

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Walking through the artist’s exhibition of his paintings that he titled ‘A day in the Life’, one is immediately struck by the vivid colors and the energy that emerges from his paintings. Each canvas tells a story, capturing the essence of a different profession within the food supply chain.

The artist who comes from Kigali had taken a year off from school to focus on his painting.

“I had planned to attend university, but I realized I couldn’t continue if I wasn’t good at what I spent three years studying. I spent an entire year in Musanze.” It is where he witnessed the hard labor of locals.

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From sailors who import food from the nearby islands to suppliers who carry the food on their bikes to local to-market vendors arranging their products with care, the artist captures the beauty and resilience of these individuals.

In one painting, Kubwimana showcases a woman carrying a basket of fresh vegetables on her head, she is also carrying her baby on her back her face etched with determination.

The brushstrokes reveal the strength in their posture, emphasizing the fortitude required to endure their labor-intensive work. Through these portrayals, Kubwimana invites us to see beyond the surface and appreciate the humanity in these everyday heroes.

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In a world where we often take the food on our tables for granted, Kubwimana’s art serves as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness of our society. He invites us to recognize that the hands that plant, harvest, transport, and sell our food are not mere cogs in a machine but individuals with dreams, hopes, and families of their own.

“When you see how passionate these people are, there are women who have children. Men with families. However, they are happy and content because of what they do,” the artist said.

Kubwimana’s artwork provides a profound perspective on the dignity of labor. It makes you appreciate the immense effort that goes into something as simple as a meal and reminds us to be grateful for the hardworking individuals who make it possible.

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Kubwimana’s intention is not only to pay homage to these workers but also to initiate a dialogue about the larger issues of food security, sustainability, and fair treatment of those involved in the agricultural industry. His paintings serve as catalysts for conversations about the social and economic challenges faced by the hands that feed us, fostering empathy and encouraging change.

In a world plagued with images of celebrities and sensationalism, Kubwimana’s art stands as a refreshing reminder of the power of simplicity and authenticity.

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