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The Rwanda Art Museum, Haunted By Its Past


The Rwanda Art Museum houses Rwanda’s largest collection of contemporary art comprised of primarily paintings and sculptures made by Rwandan artists after the 1994 genocide. This paper questions how Rwanda’s traumatic past haunts the institution and how the museum responds to this history through its display of contemporary art. Not only is the museum’s collection made up of artwork that grapples with the events of the genocide, it is now housed within a mansion that was the official residence for the former Rwandan president, Juv�nal Habyarimana. This paper, which builds on recent interventions in museology and postcolonial theories, examines the Rwanda Art Museum’s repurposing of such a space—a site that symbolizes the violence, fear, and extravagance of the former president’s regime—for the display of contemporary art.

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