Ibisazi Designers Nyabyo
Umenge W' Inzu
Ibisazi Designers Nyabyo (IDN)
open weekends March 5 - April 3, 2022
A package arrived from Rwanda. Inside was a small house made of sticks, tied together. Scraps of graph paper with mathematics took the place of doors and windows. It was months in the making. A previous package had contained the artist's original design—the house was covered in a mound of dirt. This, however, ensured the package would never make it through customs, unable to reach Brooklyn, where it was to be part of a solo exhibit at haul gallery and the first time the work of Ibisazi Designers Nyabyo (Crazy Real Designers) was to be shown in the United States.
“Umwenge W’ Inzu” roughly translates from Kinyarwanda to “Hole in the House.” This enigmatic title links the photography, video, fashion design and sculpture of artists Niyongabo Frederic and Ndiratuma Emmanuel, known collectively as Ibisazi Designers Nyabyo.
What does it mean? It’s hard to say for certain. An inquiry into IDN’s process, like the videos the artists provide, feels like the camera that restlessly pans through the raw frame of a house, flooded with night sky. In the final shots, models are revealed—-one wearing a patterned jumpsuit and a basket for a hat, the other, blue trunks, face hidden underneath a spire of sticks. This environment, filled with chaos and refuse and the expanse of nature, is united with artistic intent in the forms of IDN’s design and practice.
A hole is in the house. The elements rush in, and embraced by IDN, become crazy and real designs. A hole is in the house. What happens inside demands to be seen.
-text by Isaac Brosilow
In their own words: Ibisazi Designers Nyabyo (IDN) was founded in 2018 by Niyongabo Frederic (b. 1996, Kigali, Rwanda) and Ndiratuma Emmanuel (b. 1995, Goma, DRC). The two artists grew up in Kacyiru, Kigali, Rwanda in the deep slums. Due to the lack of basic needs in life, they had to drop out of school which made them fully concentrate on their artistic talents, each on their own. In 2018, they had the idea to work together and form IDN. They started IDN as they both made similar artworks, often considered as ‘craziness’ to those who do not know the meaning behind it. IDN is inspired by where they come from.