Francis Offman, Untitled, 2023-2024

Notes from the Heart

June 28-September 20, 2024 – Monaco

Società delle Api is delighted to announce that Le QUAI will host the first solo show in Monaco by the Bologna-based, Rwandan artist Francis Offman, entitled “Notes from the Heart”. 

The exhibition showcases the transformative power of art and the profound impact of community collaboration. At the heart of this exhibition lies the ethos of hospitality fostered by Silvia Fiorucci and La Società delle Api, creating a space where artists can commune, share ideas, and create collectively. Artist Francis Offman’s site-specific exhibition at the gallery embodies this spirit, drawing inspiration from his experiences and interactions within this nurturing environment.

Monaco, often associated with exclusivity, finds a refreshing counterpoint in La Società delle Api, where inclusivity and camaraderie reign. Offman extends this invitation to viewers of his work by igniting curiosity and contemplation as well as encouraging conversation. His approach to communication mirrors his artistic process — subtle yet profound. Like layers of meaning, his paintings unfold gradually over time, challenging viewers to look beyond surface judgments.

Through his work, Offman confronts stereotypes and preconceptions, inviting viewers to question their own biases. He avoids direct interrogation stating, “There are many ways of saying things, you can shout without raising your voice.” Instead, the artist encourages introspection through personal materials and symbolism. Coffee grounds, a recurring motif in his work, evoke reflection on waste and excess, prompting viewers to consider the origins and impact of everyday consumption.

Offman’s use of coffee grounds serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of global communities. By highlighting the disparity between the everyday item and the lives of those who produce it, he urges us to re-evaluate our relationship with consumption and conservation. His art transcends mere preservation; it evolves, reflecting the dynamic interplay between artist, material, and environment.

Offman’s reverence for history and tradition informs his artistic practice. Drawing inspiration from Rwanda’s innovative recycling initiatives, he honours the cyclical nature of creation and preservation. He works in harmony with the seasons, attuned to the rhythms of nature and the materials he employs preferring to use the elements to aid the creation of his works. 

The exhibition engages all the senses, incorporating scent as a narrative element. Coffee and lavender, sourced from La Società delle Api in Grasse, infuse the space with evocative aromas. The title, “Notes from the Heart” is inspired by the terminology used in perfume creation famous to the region but also a reference to the messages of tenderness Offman wishes to share with visitors and the generosity felt at La Società delle Api. The artist’s artworks are often created using materials gifted to him, each canvas bears the imprint of its origin, preserving its unique history and essence.

With his new studio and expanded artistic horizons, Offman continues to push boundaries and challenge conventions. He remains committed to his local community, sourcing materials and inspiration from his surroundings. His hands-on approach underscores his dedication to storytelling and authenticity, ensuring that each piece retains its narrative integrity.

“Notes From the Heart” is more than an exhibition; it’s a testament to the transformative power of art and the enduring bonds of community. Through his work, Offman invites us to engage with our surroundings, question our assumptions, and embrace the rich tapestry of human experience. In doing so, he ignites a spark of curiosity and wonder that lingers long after the exhibition’s end.


Francis Offman (b. 1987, Butare, Rwanda) lives and works in Bologna, Italy. His wall pieces and installations are constructed from reused materials, including gifted and discarded fabrics, spent coffee grounds, expired bandages, and scraps of paper, which have been painted and glued together. Originally from Rwanda, the artist has resided in Italy since he was a child and currently lives and works in Bologna. While his compositions are always abstract, each item used within them contains a narrative associated with a local or global history. For example, he frequently incorporates Bolognese plaster as a binding agent, and his use of coffee ties his country of birth, where it is an important commodity, with his place of residence where it is embraced as a nationally adored drink. Offman’s textured and layered surfaces mine multiple visual and historical influences, inviting a rich and complex reading.

Recent and forthcoming exhibitions include My Dreams Were Destroyed on Your Walls, DEO projects, Chios (2024); Economics of Painting, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry (2024); The Invention of Europe. A tricontinental narrative (2024-2027), Kunst Meran, Merano (2024); Norval Sovereign African Art Prize, Norval Foundation, Cape Town (2024); uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial (2023); La Biblioteca del Mondo, Fondazione Memmo, Rome (2023); Herald St, London (2023); Sensing Painting, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin (2023); Italian Painting Today, Triennale Milano, Milan (2023); Arte circolare, MAXXI, Rome (2023); RETROFUTURE, MACRO Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome (2023); Museo delle Opacità, Museo delle Civiltà Romana, Rome (2023); Recent Acquisitions and Eternal Loves – Part I, Nicoletta Fiorucci Collection, Rose de France, Monaco (2023); The 8th Biennial of Painting: The ’t’ is Silent, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Sint-Martens-Latem (2022); Quotidiana: and Paesaggio, Quadriennale di Roma, Museo di Roma, Palazzo Braschi, Rome (2022). In 2023, Offman undertook a residency at Gasworks, London. His work is included in the collections of Frac Bretagne, Rennes; Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna; Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli; MACRO Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome; The University of Warwick Art Collection, Coventry; and The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. 

Lewis Dalton Gilbert is an independent curator and the creative director at A Vibe Called Tech; a creative agency and art consultancy dedicated to approaching creativity through an intersectional lens.

Following his BA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design, he coordinated and produced exhibitions and projects for White Cube and Frieze and is currently the associate curator for New Art Centre, where he previously served as creative director. In 2021, he curated the Hackney Windrush Art Commissions with Thomas J Price and Veronica Ryan OBE, for which Ryan won the Turner Prize.

Recent curatorial projects include South by Southwest at Gurr Johns (2024), Pictures of Us at Gathering, London (2023), We Share the Same Sky on Vortic Art (2023), Abstract Colour at Marlborough Gallery (2023) and Peripheral Vision at Anna Schwartz Gallery (2022).