RWANDAN BORN AND RAISED ARTIST MADUSA KARMA IS WHAT ONE WOULD DESCRIBE AS AN ENIGMA. ONE QUICK SCROLL THROUGH HER WELL-CURATED INSTAGRAM PAGE WILL REVEAL THAT SHE IS NO ORDINARY 19-YEAR-OLD. NOT ONLY IS MADUSA INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL AND STYLISH BUT SHE HAS AN IMPECCABLE EYE FOR COMPOSITION AND COLOUR, AN EYE THAT LENDS TO HER EVOCATIVE PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK THROUGH PORTRAITS OF HERSELF AS WELL AS OTHERS.
WHO IS MADUSA KARMA AND WHAT DOES SHE DO?
This is something I’ve never been able to categorise, I was always into collages and I hadn’t seen enough that represented African people. Since 2013 I started taking my interest seriously, and with that I fell in love with taking self-portraits, creative directing my own shoots and fashion.
Â YOU HAVE RECENTLY STARTED SHARING SOME OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK. WHAT MADE YOU PICK UP A CAMERA?
I work with what I have; equipment is very expensive so that’s when your phone becomes your best friend. One of my cheaper options was getting a film camera- Canon AE-1. Film is a medium that I’ve always appreciated and I’m now shooting more and more, using my film camera. It feels more organic and candid.
WHO/WHAT ARE THE SUBJECTS YOU LIKE TOÂ CAPTURE AND WHY?
When I decided to use someone as my muse, they tend to be people I have built a connection with. I want to tell a story with my visuals and I want their stories and struggles to be shown too. Â I make sure to highlight what that person may be insecure about, in a way bringing out that beauty. I also do this when I am my own subject.
Â WE’RE CERTAIN THAT MANY OF YOUR FOLLOWERS WOULDÂ CONSIDER YOU A MUSE, WHO ARE YOUR THREE SOCIAL MUSES AT THE MOMENT?Â
Â “MISERABLE ARTIST” IS HOW YOU DESCRIBEÂ YOURSELF ON YOUR INSTAGRAM BIOGRAPHY…
I consider myself a miserable artist simply because I never have the guts to share all my work with the world – it creates a dark cloud of depression. I’m trying to push myself daily to overcome this, I don’t know what I’m so afraid of, but I do want to let that fear go.
HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCED THE PERSON THAT YOU’VE BECOME (OR ARE BECOMING)?
Social media has honestly helped me build some sort of confidence; I’ve met and made so many connections with so many powerful women and men, who keep inspiring me. They often send me many words or encouragement. For me, being able to see other people winning around the continent drives me to do the same for my people, the young creatives from Rwanda and around the map.
Â BEING DRIVEN AND INSPIRED…Â
Nothing else makes me feel sane besides creating. It’s the only thing I do that makes me feel accepted and free. The goal is to keep pushing so I can be a successful creative in my own right.
YOUR HAIR IS CONSTANTLYÂ CHANGING, AND YOU EMBRACE A LOT OF “NATURAL” HAIRSTYLES FOR THE MOST PART, IS THAT A PREFERENCE?
I’m a very shy person. I express myself through my presence, a few years ago all I would do is put my hair in my face and kind of hide through it to blend in a crowd. I would wear baggy clothes and hide. Then, I woke up one day and I decided to treat my hair as my crown. I will keep changing my crown, never forgetting my roots – Â Â I try to keep it as natural and as African inspired as possible.
…SO, YOU CONSIDER YOUR HAIR TO BE AN EXTENSIONÂ OF YOUR SELF-EXPRESSION?
My hair is without a doubt an extension of my being.
Â HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CHOOSING YOUR NEXT HAIRSTYLE?
Honestly, it depends on how feel in the morning and how I want to present my hair to the world. I get very inspired by the hairstyles of the 90’s and 80’s and ancestral braid styles.