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Isengesho Ry'ubwanwa
Ibisazi Designers Nyabyo
May 6th - June 11th 2023

Isengesho Ry’ubwanwa (The Beard’s Prayer) is our second exhibition of work by Ibisazi Designers Nyabo (IDN). This collective, founded in 2018, primarily focuses on wearable designs, but their practice spans all media: sculpture, performance, photography, video, and music. This multidisciplinary group of artists has rotating membership, but the core group of individuals have all named themselves: Kangweshi, Usumbura, Ineza, Pack Designer, and Mox. They each play a different role day-to-day (electrician, chef, graphic designer) – but when they join to create or perform, they’re singular vision is totally shared.

They have built their studio by hand in Mungwe Village, outside of Kigali, Rwanda. The two founders (Kangweshi and Usumbura) grew up a short walk apart in a Kigali neighborhood called Kacyiru. But their focus now is on building their studio in Mungwe to act as an arts hub, performance venue, and community space. Even though they are still building, they have already achieved this. Their neighbors are often regular collaborators in their work.

This show features designs that explore the artists’ practice of using everyday objects in their designs, in this case, tools that allow humans to take control of nature. In one photo, a model wears a black rubber arrangement of slingshots. In another, circular rings made from leaves (tools used in farming) form a towering shape that makes the wearer taller than everyone around them. Another design is worn as a group, with metal wire frames dotted with burning paper.

In the artists’ own words: contemplations that are rigorous to acknowledge or to find synchronicity, where a soul with a hunch that leads to a positive world-wide propaganda, or to share their reverence with others but it all ends up with not a soul caring or understanding their thoughts. Like being able to walk on a lighted torch but some wouldn't take it on board which makes them feel like they are in the beard's prayer.

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