Hi, my name is Cynthia Butare.
I am a documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Kigali, Rwanda.
My first attempt at documentary filmmaking was in 2012, while I was studying in the UK with KICKIN’ IT WITH THE KINKS. Made with my friend Mundia Situmbeko, the film tackles natural hair amongst black women and on the harmful effects of chemically straightening. The sneak peeks were propelled by Internet users who wanted to see it, then they were relayed by word of mouth. This allowed the film to go through a series of screenings for the following two years in the UK, US, Canada, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Nigeria, Zambia, Namibia and Rwanda.
In 2013, I made Ishimwa: from Bloodshed to Grace, which reveals one remarkable man's struggle to overcome his past as a genocide survivor. The film, delivered in his own words, shares how he survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and become involved with gangs in London. He eventually goes on to join a ballet school.
Relocating to my country of heritage, Rwanda in 2014, meant getting the opportunity to truly understand this place, its resonance for Rwandans, and also my place in it. From then on, photography appeared to me as a more suitable creative expression to be able to explore over time the daily novelty that was offered to me.
In 2022, I had my first exhibition called Moulding Hands, which took part in a collective photo exhibition curated by the cultural entrepreneur Nelson Niyakire. This photo exhibition is a vivid display of the moulding of Rwandan heritage through the toil of bare hands.
As I dabble in many areas, this is an outlet for me truly rooted in my purpose, as elusive and eternal as it is. Hence this space is an intermingling of all of my interests into one fully-fledged portal. It is a scrapbook to externalise my thoughts, mould my opinions and express what I stand for and value. That being so, I write, I share my daily life and my pictures, to not only engage but also intrigue, challenge, and arouse your curiosity about Rwanda, its culture, and its landscapes, in order to develop my sense of observation, to sharpen my creative sensibilities, feed my thoughts, discover the unknown, and above all… exchange with you!.