In the face of what he described as “the criminal, barbaric indifference of the so-called world community”, Jaar travelled to Rwanda in early August 1994 to witness the horrific aftermath of one of history’s most violent conflicts. Three months prior, an estimated one million Rwandans had been systematically killed during one hundred days of civil unrest following the gunning down of the Rwandan president’s plane over the capital Kigali. Two million people were displaced within Rwanda while another two million sought refuge in neighbouring countries. The artist dedicated six years to this project.
Jaar was profoundly affected by what he witnessed and at the same time struck by the dearth of international press coverage. Through this series of work, he sought to bring attention to personal stories to pay tribute to the victims of the genocide. His Rwanda Project attempted to make sense of the tragedy in a series of exercises dedicated to the people of Rwanda.