Jean Baptiste Rukundo

  • Position: Visual Artist
  • Location: Rwanda

Jean Baptiste Rukundo was born in Kicukiro, Kigali, in 1990 as the seventh out of eight children. For as long as he can remember, he has had an intuition that has been present from childhood that made him believe he was talented even before becoming an artist. After graduating from high school in 2011, the journey towards becoming an artist started.

Rukundo joined ivuka art centre in 2011 and proceeded to paint since he already knew how to draw in high school from which he also learnt wood carving and ceramics. Painting to him was a way of experimenting with new medium and since an environment also dictates an artist’s medium he had to adopt to the traditional art representation.

Rukundos soon developed an expressionistic style of painting and it is this style of painting that has been evolving through his artistic walk. His strokes seem to suggest a lot from desire to torment to fun but all in all he delivers his message in a simple but expressive way. In his paintings He explores colour as an attaraction rather than attaching a meaning and this makes his message delivery be the primary reason of expression.

He draws his inspiration from his immediate surrounding environment, not only of the Rwandese diverse nature, but also of “impressive” situations in people’s daily life. He has done many two major solos “Mkorogo” in Kigali that touched on the human condition to change his appearance using bleaching gels and chemicals and “Mobility of Expression” exhibited at the Godown Art Centre that talked on human as vulnerable creatures of habit.

At the moment, Rukundo has adopted new mediums like ink, collage and charcoal to better understand the process of painting and how to combine them for a powerful visual storytelling.

Artist’s Statement

In this time and age there seems to be immense hope in religious organizations but little hope in humanity. The sheep (the people) are led by the sheperd (the saviour) but the sheperd preys on the sheep and what follows is a question of morality towards the sheperd.

I explore these saviour figures using a religious connotation because it is they that carry the most sheep to their slaughter. The works are a depiction of my thoughts on how the human person is searching for hope but end up in the hands of wolfs.

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