Artist Interview: Willy Karekezi – Installing Expectations, Or Connecting To Emotions

January 25, 2022

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The Investec Cape Town Art Fair returns to its physical space at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 February 2022, and will be the first-ever hybrid Fair. The work of Willy Karekezi, will be displayed as part of the ALT section, with KomezART, Rwanda.


What sort of training have you received and how important do you think it is to seek training (in terms of learning first principles and refining technique)?

I have never had formal training and in my opinion, it is not important, because it has allowed me to learn practically and given me enough latitude to experiment. Somehow not having expectations allowed me to be free and open to whatever was coming my way. I like to interact with my creations in that way.


What is your principal medium, and why did you choose it?

I use mainly acrylic and oil on canvas. This is how I started. It was the best way for me to create images, and soon enough I realised it was not enough. I started exploring metallic sculptures and installations, because those give more life to the work and more possibilities for the audience to interact with what I create from the nature around me.


What technological tools do you use in your work?

I wouldn’t say I use a lot of technology in my work. I remain raw in the way I do things. I might use a picture, maybe. I like to sometimes use models for my art and I take pictures of them. So I would say the camera.


Who is the single other artist whose style you most admire, and why?

I like Bakunzi Jean Bosco. I consider him as my mentor. I like how his work strikes a lot of emotions inside of me. I grew up seeing his work and I love the way he tells his story. I want to tell deep and emotional stories. Those are the kind of stories I want to share with the world.


Galleries and other traditional means are only one way of marketing art. What do you believe are the most important other routes, and what is the most important insight you have gained in that area in your career?

I believe the gallery and other classical ways of marketing the arts are efficient, but I also believe there are new ways that work just fine. There are many new ways of gaining recognition. Modern art no longer has to be in galleries or museums. Public space, social media, all these new spaces are becoming more and more relevant. It means that curators have to go to many more places to engage and look for artists.


Why do you create? What are your stated goals in producing art?

I create to inspire, to make people think, to make them ask questions, and to provoke, disturb and disrupt, because I believe that what is said for the present can be used for the future. In a sense, I also work to document present lives that I wish to be relevant for the future.

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