The Arts Interview: ‘Jean Ryan’ Hakizimana

John Rainsford


John Rainsford

The Arts Interview: 'Jean Ryan' Hakizimana
Born in Rwanda, in South Central Africa, of Burundian parents, I decided to work here as it was always my dream to be a professional artist and Irish people really appreciate artwork.

Born in Rwanda, in South Central Africa, of Burundian parents, I decided to work here as it was always my dream to be a professional artist and Irish people really appreciate artwork.

I have been always artistic by nature and now Master of Arts and Media. Since I arrived in Ireland I have been running my own art studio and gallery first in the Augustinian Church, on O’Connell Street about ten years ago and then on Thomas Street about four years ago. Around this time I adopted the working name of ‘Jean Ryan’. Today, my art studio and gallery are located on Liddy St., at the junction of Sarsfield St. and Henry St. beside Timmy Martins Pub. I, also, have a second gallery for displaying and selling my paintings in Camelot Ireland, Arthur’s Quay, upstairs on the first floor. These galleries are open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm each day. My art classes are open all year round so you can join anytime that suits you and you get a painting produced professionally in each class.

As an art teacher I specialise in many different types of art techniques as I teach different types of painting techniques to meet my students’ needs.

However, I can say that I mostly like landscapes, portraits, still life, and abstracts. Today, I am very well known for my vibrant sunsets and sunrises. Usually I get my inspiration and ideas from the people around me and from nature. My ideas, also, come naturally from my dreams. As it was in my dreams since I was a child I have been always been interested in art. My artistic work allows me to bring out or to express what I have seen, or what is exciting in the world of the imagination or the world of reality which inspires me as an artist, painter, teacher, movie maker, producer editor and author.

However, I have chosen mostly to be an artist and author as I enjoy these activities more.

Professionally, I work today as an arts advisor and marketing agent, exhibition consultant, arts events manager and paintings problem solver. Due to the high performance levels that I have achieved in the past I prefer to curate all my own exhibitions so that I make them in the way that I want to have them. Last August I had an art sale in the Augustinian Church and was very happy to have sold out everything on display within two weeks. All paintings in my new exhibition will be new and unseen with a big range of landscapes, local scenes, abstracts, and still life and the prices will be very affordable to anyone who would like to have an original artwork hanging on his/her wall. Admission is free and there will be a painting (worth € 1500) raffled with a certificate of authenticity.

A good number of my paintings have sold nationally and worldwide.

My work has, also, been featured by national and international media and many of my paintings have even been used as book covers by eminent authors. I strongly believe in giving back to the art community what has given me so much happiness. Indeed, I regularly run morning and evening classes, all year round for all skill levels, even taking in students from neighboring colleges and universities. In this small way, I have brought in a good amount of business to Limerick City and its surrounding areas. I have even co-authored books with Dr. Michael Hayes, which were published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, about inter-cultural dialogue in Ireland. My work features scenic Irish life and African landscapes, both of which have been a big part of my journey.

Everyone should be encouraged to take part in and even to become artists because art is one of the most important ways to bring happiness into our lives-entertaining society through expression.

However, it is very difficult to live as an artist in the current economic climate, especially for those who are struggling to make their name. This is because, these days, people are not buying art as luxury items. They do not have enough spare money to spend, unfortunately. Instead, they are just buying what are the most basic priorities such as food. So, artists are suffering as we have to spend money and time to produce artwork before we earn some money back. At the end of the day most of the artists, here, in Limerick are selling nothing which makes me sad. Limerick people are not supporting local artists sufficiently even though every artist here has reduced their prices to meet people’s reduced budgets. This situation makes it harder for artists to survive and keep working as artists. As a result, Limerick may loose the live presence on site of its most talented artists who may be forced to move in order to make a living at art.

Complimented on my unique background motifs I have been often been asked what they represent.

The answer is that they are simply my interpretation of the energy fields that surround us and that make up our very existence. My art is designed to spark a reconnection between the observer and the magnificence of nature. Every moment offers us a chance to see life in a beautiful joyous way. My father was an architect and my mother a fashion designer so I was born with the artistic parts of their talents which made me the successful artist that I am today. My parents were always supportive and encouraging of my need for creative self-expression which I personally can’t thank them enough for. May God Bless them for 

Jean Ryan’ Hakizimana’s official 2014 Art Exhibition will open on Friday, November 21 at 7pm in Augustinian Church, O’Connell Street. The exhibition will run until Saturday, November 29 at 3pm. For more information about the artist please see his website: and Facebook: M.a. Jean Ryan Hakizimana. You can contact the artist directly by e-mail: or mobile: 085 7057765.