Art, Nationalism and Nativism in Post Genocide Rwanda
Erika Dahlmanns (Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation)
Paper short abstract:
Art has become to play a vital role for re/defining and reviving »Rwandan culture« as a means for dealing with the past and shaping societal future. The paper explores the government´s understanding of art and the culture-symbolism in art works as facets of a Rwandan nativism and nationalism.
Paper long abstract:
In Rwanda, art has become to play a vital role for re/defining and reviving »Rwandan culture« and identity, mirroring the government´s attempt to unify a society marked by conflict, genocide and migration. Based on the government´s political narrative of a nation stained and harmed by colonial infulences, the importance of art (including fine arts, songs and theatrical performances) is seen a. o. in its potential to rediscover and revive a genuine culture, to strengthen the new national order and to educate proud, moral and committed citizens as a means for dealing with the past and for shaping societal future. Based on field work with artists and in government institutions in Rwanda (2008-2011), this paper explores the specific understanding of arts and artists in Rwanda´s cultural policy as well as characteristics of the culture-symbolism present in art works as facets of a Rwandan nativism and nationalism.
Art and nativism [Anthropology and the Arts Network]