Cédric Mizero is a young, delightful, and passionate artist. After presenting each of his four collections at fashion events, most especially the Kigali Fashion Week, he took trips to the countryside as part of his ‘Fashion for All’ project, applying his creativity and sharing his love for fashion with women he met in the villages.

His trips took him to the south- and north-western parts of the country, where he explored various artistic themes and how people in the villages there perceive the art of fashion. It’s incredible, he told me, how we underestimate their knowledge of fashion yet, if you look deeply, they too have a great sense of style.

Where we typically imagine dowdy old women with dirty clothes — as usually portrayed in mainstream media — Cédric saw an opportunity for exploration and inspiration.

The women he met, and the conversations he had with the people all through the beautiful green hills and valleys of the western part of the country, inspired a photoshoot — thanks to talented photographer Chris Schwagga — and what makes his “Strong Women” exhibition: an artistic installation featuring photography, fashion, and mixed media. It highlights “feminine strength, energy, and responsibility.”

At the opening of his exhibition last weekend at ParkInn by Radisson, on Saturday evening, his speech was brief. “I am not going to explain a lot,” he said. “I want my art to be my voice. I want you to read through the art that I make.”

He then went on to describe, concisely, that the installation shows “what we see and what we don’t see about women — and showing their beauty, their struggles, and how they play a big role in the society.”

I visited Cédric’s studio on Friday afternoon to have a glimpse of his current projects and where he is headed. At twenty-three years old, he continues to build a world of creativity and art around him that makes his name stand out. For a young artist who makes little money out of his work, if at all, perhaps what really matters more is to see how his audience responds to his creative effort and to keep growing? “I am always very eager to know what people really think,” he told me.

If there is one thing that his work continues to evoke, though, it is the power of freedom to think, imagine, create, and express. To look forward to what his world holds, at least in the near future, is to imagine what makes life away from the city so beautiful.

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