VIBR8 – One’s little green paradise
With all these weird phenomenons and natural disasters occurring globally, it is safe to say that it has swept us all off our feet. Where the entire world had to be on temporary lockdown to fight and tackle the spread of a pandemic virus, crazy right? And to say that we only hear about something like that in a mare conversation down history lane or learn about it in schools but here we are, having a full first-hand experience ourselves!
As we try to get back on our feet, re-center mentally, physically, and get our lives back on track a lot is needed for everything, everyone, and for our lives to re-adjust. And what is better than an environment or better yet a creative space that ensures and facilitates exactly that.
You might have heard or come across the five lettered word “ VIBR8 “ the creative lab, no? Well not to worry this blog got you covered.
Being a creative myself, I have faced multiple challenges on my journey in search of what I thought then was the perfect opportunity, network, access to resources among many things.
Feeling and being present in a space or an environment that is barely alive or existent, and hopelessly looking for a switch, a spark that would ignite its flames again can make you feel like you’ve been running a straight road without ever knowing if that’s the last mile you’ll need to go. But if we’re searching in the right place using our best and being patient, we eventually get there.
VIBR8 (Vibrate) sparked as a needed change (solution) that could contribute to overcoming challenges Rwandan creatives were facing, the challenges I was facing.
In facilitating the creation and production of rich creative content disrupting the mainstream industry. Think of VIBR8 as a physical creative lab through which creatives can come together to conduct creative experiments, work on projects, or to just get inspired.
A platform designed to help creatives prosper, not only in terms of content creation, but sustaining that flow of creativity as well, and using that stream to create networks and avail resources and opportunities to water every other part of their lives.
VIBR8 is a creative space currently sitting on a riverbank in the middle of a natural forest a few minutes from Musanze city. A space with a backyard large enough to accommodate a campsite for a group of up to five. The neighborhood is quiet and filled, the birds numerous, with only a few houses in proximity. The leaders and locals in their planning and development efforts have tried to maintain this city’s natural beauty, by shifting the emphasis to wildlife conservation, efforts now globally celebrated.
I believe that you can re-immerse yourself in the world, unplug and connect with the environment and everything around you. Go to a place far away from the reality you have known, a completely unfamiliar territory that re-ignites the flames of your curiosity.
The art scene here is vibrant which compliments the captivating scenery and makes VIBR8 an ideal place for unplugging and reflecting.
VIBR8 was born from an idea and the need for creating a space that avails information and opportunities to creatives, facilitates monetization of their work, and disturb the mainstream industry with rich creative content.
It has always been an enigma whether a Rwandan creative could completely survive off of the arts alone in the Rwandan creative industry. A question that is yet to be answered but still open for exploration.
An early but still existing challenge faced by the creatives in the industry is the lack of financial sustainability, freedom, and financial worth. Creatives lacked a sustainable and untapped source of an income stream and failing to exploit the unlimited resources around to be used for greater profit.
But can you blame them? When there have been scarce resources or networks to be exploited. The reason is that no one (mostly the government ) is looking to invest time and big bucks in the artist, their craft, and the industry itself.
According to an international trace center article, creative industries generate significant value in the Rwandan economy. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates that the sector represented 5.2% of Rwandan gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016. The creative industry’s contribution to Rwanda’s economy is well above the regional average of 1.1%, it even exceeds the GDP contribution of developed markets such as the United States and the European Union, both at around 3%. Data from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda confirm rapid growth in the country’s creative sector. In absolute terms, the industry grew by 36 times in 17 years, from RWF 9 billion in 1999 ($10.6 million today) to RWF 328 billion in 2016 ($366.5 million today). (International Trade Centre, 2019)
With all these statistics it is hard to believe that the Rwandan creative still lacks financial sustainability, management, booking agencies, all these functions, and resources that would open more doors and opportunities for the artist and the industry to bloom.
We currently house four creatives-in-residence who also serve as the custodians. Interested individuals reach out via our Instagram page and book their preferred time slot. Being around creatives lost in their worlds will inspire you or at least challenge you to create. Our custodians are well aware that this can be an overwhelming experience, so they try their best to create a friendly environment that believes in and supports experimentation. This offers, not only amateurs but to professionals as well a chance to learn and create something new.
A space that is driven by day to day creativity, exploration, visiting places, and discovering new things, collaborations between creatives will stimulate personal growth and it will be an educative and interactive environment for everyone interacting with it.
A portion of the bigger piece is to positively impact people’s lives, create solutions with art being the backbone of it all. Exposing people to endless possibilities and alternatives of living and viewing life, creating and connecting with the world we live in, and the way we live and interact with one another.
VIBR8 is an ongoing project being run by AntikDust. AntikDust is a collective of creative artists using a blend of multiple disciplines to create a culture-rich community right in the heart of Africa.
For us, the cultural richness is evident through content. By harnessing collaborations between diverse but complementary creatives, we will have an endless spring of content, creating a vibrant industry for both the artist and the consumer.
We realized that through collaborating and creating a sustainable lifestyle, it would result in a positive long term solution to most challenges we are facing and might be shared with multiple other creatives in the industry, to mention a few having a consistent and reliable source of income streams.
Antik Dust has introduced so far two brands or subdivisions. VIBR8 (Vibrate) is a physical creative lab through which creatives can come together to conduct creative experiments, work on projects, or to just get inspired. For this project so far we have a physical space (A house with a compound), this space serves as a prototype and starting point for our long journey towards the final product. Space has also been helping us a lot in orienting fellow creatives towards us. The other brand/ subdivision is an apparel based solution named “FEYE”. FEYE is a green fashion culture that is reshaping mindsets about style and clothes in general to create a personalized sustainable textile future. So far, we have recycled several clothes to create appealing attires that have been used in music videos, entertainment events, and even National Tv Shows as a way to both empower creatives while promoting the FEYE culture.
Antik Dust is a work in progress, currently exploring the different corners of Rwanda trying to connect with as many creatives as possible and maybe collaborate. Harnessing the creative industry to improve the livelihood of our local communities by promoting healthier and conscious ways of living is something that we are working on. Creatives in the Rwandan creative industry are lacking something to open their eyes to these great opportunities around the industry. One of the goals is creating a spark in the industry using creative disruptive content,
We have created some of the content but still in need of more. Some of the challenges they were currently facing is accessing equipment and places, more opportunities, networks, and creating a sustainable and consistent income stream.
But we are getting there!
Rwanda has a vibrant and unique culture, a 1000 hills with a 1000 unknown stories to tell, share, and to be expressed in any way the person sees fit. We want to inspire and create a sustainable green lifestyle through fashion, tourism, transport, and arts as a whole. One can dream of a community that embraces and values art, always seeking to view life from different perspectives to create reliable solutions to the problems that might be arising. Part of the dreaming process is doing something about to attain those dreams.
We are committed to assisting people and bring out the best in themselves, and this could be anyone, creativity is not limited for artists or entertainers only.
- International Trade Centre (2019). Creative industries in Rwanda: Digital paths to global markets.Available at: http://www.intracen.org/uploadedFiles/intracenorg/Content/Publications/Rwanda%20Digital%20exports_final_Low-res.pdf [Accessed 19 Apr. 2020].
- Photo credit: AntikDust