“Survival is all about being creative especially in our field and the only way to lead others is through coming up with unique products,” says Tony Cyizanye.
Born in Burundi in 1987, Cyizanye moved to Rwanda with his parents in 1995 with very many ambitions just like any other person, of either becoming a medical doctor or an engineer.
However, his dreams never came through as he dropped out of school on completion of primary school education after losing his parents.
Tony Cyizanye (3)“Life was not all that easy for me. I tried to make ends meet so that I could pay for my secondary education, but it was very hard since I had no job and lived with my little brother and sister,” he said.
He adds that he had lost hope because whenever he could go to ask for the job, the first question would always be; “do you have your qualifications and CV?” Tired of this, he came up with an idea to find work in a gallery.
In his soft voice, Cyizanye narrates his journey from the age of 15, saying it is such a bad life experience he will always live to remember.
One day he went to Ivuka arts center in Kacyiru without any experience but one of his friends, Colline Sekajugo welcomed him and started training.
“After sometime, I remembered that my uncle was an artiste, and I used to see him working although I was a small boy. That inspired me,” explains Cyizanye.
Tony Cyizanye (2)He says, after gaining enough experience at Ivuka arts, he decided to start his own art gallery in Nyarutarama and his love for what he did gave every piece of his work an exceptional touch. This is why his works attract attention even internationally.
As he displays his art work at Yego Art Center opposite the MTN headquarters, he targets clients of all walks of life but most especially the foreigners in the morning who occasionally turn up for various activities.
Cyizanye says his artwork comes from inspiration and admiration of the prominent people in the industry. His cheapest art products cost USD200 while the most expensive depend on his customers demand basing on the order placed.
With a smile on his face, Chizanye says, “at first, I’d thought that I would be miserable for the rest of my life, but things have completely changed. I am discovering my preciousness each other day,” “I am a happy man today, independent and able to pay rent and support some of my relatives.
Cyizanye has participated in various competitions and showcased his art in exhibitions that also include the 2010 FESPAD, USA and Europe among others. He has represented Rwanda in the USA in an event held in Boston 2014, Chicago and also made an art exhibition with Koreans.
Cyizanye 28, runs his own art and jewelry shop and also employs 11 members of staff. He has not forgotten his humble beginning and recognizes that giving back to society is an obligation. That is why he chose to equip 10 young people with art skills and employ them. He has trained over 30 students and he is working with 10 artistes who joined him.