Andrea Mbarushimana United Kingdom
Curious and playful, I am driven by a fascination with people and places, identity and belonging. I run art workshops in the community and make visual art either project based or to order in different visual styles. My work often has strong values and a social conscience - Cultural Democracy is at the center of my practice.
I work by creating fun, safe and encouraging environments in which to explore creativity and ideas. Getting to know people, using warmth and humour, contradicting insecurities and hurts around creating that people have experienced, I gradually tease out themes. I particularly enjoy collaborative work in which people can still clearly see their own contributions. Every voice in the workshop is worth listening to, every person is included. I work hard to help everyone to create something of which they are proud, whilst modelling strong values of respect and acceptance.
Experienced in workshop delivery with all age groups, I have run workshops with refugees, Muslim women, school children, children and adults with a learning disability or autism, Afro-Caribbean elders and mixed groups in community settings. Recently I worked on the Picture Book project for Coventry and Nova Scotia School of Art and Design, delivering workshops to refugee children and young people to create their own books.
I also accept commissions to create art around social issues. Sometimes these take the shape of cartoons: sparse, finely drawn characters and stories in monochromatic palettes, exploring social issues. Exhibitions include the Inshuti-Friend exhibition at the Herbert in Coventry about the Rwandan Genocide, suitable for children aged 8 to adult and Farzad the Sheep about one mans experiences signing at immigration Centers, exhibited in Coventry Cathedral Chapel of Unity. I have created graphic short fiction to order for CND to use in local campaigns. I also illustrate Community Consultations, most recently for the JSNA in Coventry, drawing portraits of people engaged in conversation. These have been used in promotional material all over the city.
My writing also influences my art. My first, illustrated collection of poetry and short fiction, 'The Africa In My House', was published by Silhouette press in 2017. Since then I have been published in lit mags such as Under the Radar, Here Comes Everyone, The Curlew, Paper and Ink and in the anthology 'Diverisfly' by Fairacre Press. Recently I wrote two Instapoems for the #HumansOfCov poetry commission to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. I won the 2019 (inaugural) V20 pamphlet competition hosted by Gloucestershire Poetry Society and my new pamphlet 'Air Show' will be available from October 24th.