Textiles: Rwanda

Testimony and Textiles


From generation to generation, women in Rwanda have passed down by word of mouth the tradition of Imigongo, an indigenous art form, made using dried cow dung and organic paint. For hundreds of years, these colorful motifs adorned the interior walls of Rwandan homes. During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, many decorated houses were destroyed and many women of the tradition were killed. In the years that followed, survivors revived this art, which has since been adopted in contemporary Rwandan art to adorn basketry, woodwork, pottery and more. The Visual History Archive houses testimony from survivors and eyewitness accounts of the genocide that claimed as many as one million lives over the course of approximately 100 days.

Learn more about the Rwandan collection