The Rwanda Healing Project, by Lily Yeh / Barefoot Artists

A photo of the genocide memorial park.

Artist: Lily Yeh / Barefoot Artists

Title: The Rwanda Healing Project

Year created: 2004 – on going

Materials: Mutil-facted program that inclues public art and documentary film making.

Location: Rwanda

What is the piece’s impact? This piece, which is a response to the the 1994 Rwandan genocide, is actually compromised of a number of projects, with the aim to transform the physical and human environment of the Rugerero Survivors’ Village through art, health, community, and economic development initiatives. This includes the construction of the Genocide Memorial Park and the transformation of the Survivors’ Village.

How does this project relate to this change as art? Not only did these projects result in the creation of beautiful places of memorial, but the project is very dependent on the work of volunteers. “The process engages 100 mostly female-headed families with several hundred children from the Rugerero Survivors’ Village, dozens of workers and volunteers from the nearby city of Gisenyi, professionals from Kigali, as well as dozens of volunteers from the United States.” (source)

What makes this an artistic project? The group Barefoot Artists was founded by artist Lily Yeh, who initiated this projet in response to learning of the sad state of the mass graves for the victims of the 1994 violence. She suggests that “beauty gives dignity. Beauty heals.” (Weintraub, p. 308)

Notes: The various projects that make up the larger project can be found here.

Other work by the same artist:

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