Did you ever imagine that cow dung could be used as a wonderful painting material for art? I guess not. But do you know what?, cow dung painting is actually an exceptional form of Art in a certain corner of the World, and this is none other than Rwanda-the land of a thousand hills. Imigongo traditional Painting is where the cow dung you and I know interestingly becomes Art in Rwanda. Of course some people might have seen cow dung being turned into painting but when you see the one of Rwanda, you will be totally speechless.
This exceptional painting is made by a community-managed Co-operative in a small Village called Nyakarambi, close to the Rwanda-Tanzania border. Also at this Village is where you will see the popular Rusumo waterfalls, near Akagera National Park (the only Savannah National Park in Rwanda). The Imigongo painting is believed to date back to the 18th Century from Kibungo province and was and is still majorly done by the women. Presently, there are two wonderful co-operatives that maintain the art/painting of the former Prince-Prince Kakira, the first son of King Gisaka who is still alive and found in the eastern province of Rwanda.
Initially, the cow dung painting art was used for smearing walls of grass-thatched huts (still done up to now in some places) but in present days, it is mainly done on wooden plates and are normally bought by most tourists who visit Rwanda for hanging on the walls. The Imigongo Art almost vanished during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide but today it is flourishing and doing perfectly since it is providing incomes to the local women hence allow them to support their families. Not only that, the reason why this exceptional cow dung art almost died is because someone can buy pain off the shelf instead of painstakingly making it from just cow-dung and other easily acquired natural ingredients.
The extraordinary Imigongo Cow dung paintings are exceptional to Rwanda and have continuously become common within the country and tourists can purchase them from the Nyakarambi Village. The beautiful bright colors of the art always grace several restaurants, safari Lodges and Hotels, and is surprisingly finding its way into homes of most tourists who visit Rwanda from across the World.
The commonest colors used are red, black and white, and popular themes are in form of unique geometrical and intricate colorful designs with a classic African touch that make it famous with both Rwandans and tourists who visit the Country. You should not worry about where to get the paintings because they are found in most parts of the Country including Kigali City.
Nonetheless, it is more interesting to get it from the source because you will not only purchase the objects but also get to learn how this exceptional art is created to the fine product you always see in the markets. Don’t only take for yourself but also buy for your friends and family back home so that they also own such beautiful handmade objects hence you will also be supporting a local family. When you visit Rwanda for a safari, don’t forget to add the Nyakarambi Village on your Itinerary because this is an area where you will get marveled at how cow dung paintings are created by the local Women’s Co-operative as it was done in the ancient days.
In conclusion, the Imigongo cow dung painting is one of the most fascinating art and craft designs that you will enjoy during your safari in Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills. Add the Nyakarambi Village on your Itinerary and you will not be disappointed by what you will discover.