Country: Rwanda   •   Medium: Spray paints and stencils


Ben Playle draws his influence from the traditional African designs of the communities in which he lives.  For the past two years he has developed his own style of stencilling, observing urban and rural life on the move in Kigali, Rwanda.

Ben graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 1997 with a degree in 3D design, specialising in furniture. He then joined a community art group working with local councils and schools in Brighton, England. The workshop was established shortly after, designing one-off pieces on commission.

He has since taken his workshop to Swaziland, Ethiopia and Rwanda, countries in which he has lived and worked since 2001.

Always keen to pass on skills to others, Ben led the ‘Good Wood’ movement in Addis Ababa, training up furniture cooperatives to produce high quality designs for local sale.

Ben has had three solo art exhibitions in Rwanda, using the graffiti artist medium of spray cans and stencils.   The Cans to Canvas series captures life in the densely populated hills of Rwanda, where the bicycle taxi is the main source of transportation.

His work is a familiar sight in galleries in Kigali, with profiles in local media including the East African and Rwandan New Times.