African artist’s exhibition in Limerick church

In the frame: Rwandan artist Jean Ryan Hakizimana hanging up his work in the Franciscan church on Henry Street ahead of his exhibition this Friday. Picture: Adrian Butler
AFTER a hiatus of some 18 months, Rwandan artist Jean Ryan Hakizimana will finally be back exhibiting his work in the former Franciscan church in the city this Friday night.

AFTER a hiatus of some 18 months, Rwandan artist Jean Ryan Hakizimana will finally be back exhibiting his work in the former Franciscan church in the city this Friday night.

Jean, who once held his popular exhibitions every couple of months, has been steadily working behind the scenes, after losing three work spaces in the past three years.

His exhibition of over 60 paintings will be officially opened by Labour councillor Joe Leddin this Friday, November 8 from 7pm, to highlight the upcoming year of Limerick City of Culture.

The 65 oil and acrylic paintings have been created since he moved from his popular Thomas Street/Catherine Street studio in May 2012. The corner unit was supplied to him by Limerick City Council under the Creative Limerick banner, whereby vacant commercial premises are allowed to be occupied by artists across all spectrums for an unspecified time. However, the building was sold last year, and he was forced to move this pastels on, even though there is no occupant currently in the building.

Until recently, he had a smaller premises in the former convent at Mount St Vincent on a pro bono basis, but the occupiers had to be vacated as the building was sold to Mary Immaculate College. “I haven’t been able to show my work in public since then, whereas before I could have an exhibition of my own work and my students’ work every few months. Everyone has been asking me when am I coming back,” he told the Limerick Leader.

The Henry Street exhibition will run until November 16, and the former church will be open from 10am to 6pm daily.

Jean will soon move to a new gallery space - a former fish shop - on Liddy Street, again provided by the Creative Limerick project, where he will be teaching regular art classes, as well as free art classes starting from December 1 for tourists to Limerick, and those who have disabilities.

“This is my own personal initiative, from my heart to the public. I have no funds for this personally but as long as they provide their own materials I will be more happy to help them so that in their future they can express themselves professionally through art,” he explained.

Jean can be contacted through 0857057765, jeanryanartgallery@gmail.com or through this Facebook page M.a. Jean Ryan Hakizimana for those who want to book classes.