THE BEAUTY OF CULTURE
Savane Rutongo-Kabuye’s compositions are alive with the vibrant life of Rwanda, conveying hope and pride in its culture. Recurring motifs include everyday village life, ancient traditions, and nature—the terrain, animals, and plants of “The Land of a Thousand Hills.” And while distinctly Rwandan elements abound, the works also showcase pan-African themes and cultural traditions.
The work of these unique artists is part of the reconstruction, reconciliation, and desire for peace taking place throughout Rwanda—what this exhibition calls PAX Rwanda.
The creation of each embroidery by Savane Rutongo-Kabuye is truly a collective process, which is why the embroiderers have chosen to sign their works with the name of their workshop rather than with names of any one individual. Each work begins as a pencil drawing on unbleached cotton created by Christiane Rwagatare or her niece, Giraso Joe Christa. Works range in size from 17″ x 20″ to as large as 57″ x 51″. Then, the trained artisans of the Savane Rutongo-Kabuye workshop decide on the colors, textures, shading, and stitching techniques, giving life and vigor to these works with simple cotton thread. Finally, other women wash and stretch each work and prepare it for mounting.
Their embroidery technique involves loading threads of three different colors on one needle to achieve subtle blends of color. Only rarely does any one area of an embroidery consist of a single color. In this way, the artisans strive to create with needle and thread what the painter produces with brush and paint. Stitches are varied to produce desired textures and shapes—long, flowing stitches for mountains and sky; tight, tiny stitches for beans and grains. The variety of stitch types and the blending of threads give each work its vibrancy and depth.
Rutongo Embroideries LLC promotes the work of Savane Rutongo-Kabuye.