Horizon at Sandy Point

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mind-space of the artist

Bele dancers frame a porch in a Tobago artist's home#
I realise I had never seen the house completely open. Whenever we visited, Luise Kimme would take us into specific rooms - the tiny library for an interview; the gallery with new work. So the opportunity to walk around freely through spaces filled with natural light was stunning.

At mid morning, there is light everywhere. Streaming in through formal or simple windows, it invites you to sit in the old Morris chairs. As it changes through the day, witness the chiaroscuro of fretwork. Through this alley, the pool appears in a blue study of mango and palm trees, the far sea and shifting sky.
The bamboo gully embraces the site of the Kimme house
It is almost 20 years since the house was completed in 1997, designed by Luise Kimme, aided by architect Ekkehart Schwarz and an army of Tobago craftspeople including the Carpentry Construction company, Roger Duncan of Moriah, masons Allister Bruce, Anderson Williams, Eldon Broome; maljo blue birds by Torkler and wind chimes by Anna Serrao.

When she bought the land atop the Mt Irvine estate, she was one of a handful of visionaries who appreciated the light sifting through a bamboo gully, the shelter of a slope and the quiet of the hilltop.
Luise Kimme came to Tobago in 1979. Though she continued to teach and sculpt in Dusseldorf in Germany, she was building a home in Tobago whose people, culture and energy inspired her life's work.
Weathervane and friezes decorate the castle

Blue birds guard the spirit of the castle

Mythical creature and angels bless this space

The Tobago couple dances a jig at the roadside

Bronze sentinels protect the entrance

Today, the Kimme house - called a castle, a museum, it was a home after all - on Kimme Drive, the other end of Aurora Drive, is a living monument to this complete artist. In her time, she was a writer, sculptor and painter. She was also the architect of her space, living in the light and in the shade organized to her vision. It became her hermit's shell.

Kimme's home reveals the mind of the mature artist, living large the last 20 years. Today, it is occupied by Dunieski Lora Pileta, the Cuban artist who helped Kimme with her bronze works. Hopefully, the castle at the top of Mt Irvine will remain a sanctuary for artists and for art in Tobago.

The drawing room with windows to the sea

Through the front door

Hallway with drawings at the far end of the drawing room*

Open doors let in mid morning Tobago light
Like a small village or a commune, there is a dizzying assortment of structures, roof lines, passageways, stairways. Defining every opening, every outhouse, every porch, each level, there is the light of Tobago, clear blue, soft and warm. The feeling of serenity, of sanctuary, of languor is overwhelming.

Massed rooflines, like a small village

The doorway at far end of the drawing room* 
Porch looking across to Mt Irvine bay#

Fretwork and galvanize roofs, so Caribbean

Kimme discovered the jigsaw and created random and patterned fretwork

Stairway to the pool: doorway to the left leads to the gallery of small bronzes

Formal drawing room upper right, little gallery below

Upper left structure is a gallery of larger sculptures; fretwork frames the porch at right#

Alley alongside the kitchen features breeze blocks

Drawing room windows behind the banana leaves

Stairway to the sculptor's work space

Self-contained apartment
The interior spaces are functional and organized. Luise Kimme created a space for everything. It is our earnest hope that her home is maintained and remains open to visitors. What better way to do this than to have an artist who appreciated the Kimme mind, working in the space she defined.

Fretwork door with frog doorstop

Galvanize roof; open doors

Doorways are important in this mind-space

Fretwork encloses this hallway that is at the heart of the work space

Worktable, and at the far end towards the light, the hoist and tackle that Kimme used to lift giant pieces of wood

The gallery of small bronzes

And the light comes in ...

The Tobago face looks through louvre doors to the landscape

Galvanize and louvre doors

The library: a tiny room that was also used for interviews
In the end, Tobago was Luise Kimme's muse. Not just the people, of whom she said, "I love the beautiful Tobagonians. They look like Egyptian paintings, tiny waists, broad shoulders, long necks. Stately walk, velvet voices, they sing like angels and crack up with laughter." Tobago energized the artist, gave her inspiration to imagine, and freedom to create, far from the conventions of the world she grew up in.

If Tobago were a personality, it might be this, imagined by Kimme

1 comment:

  1. She was a student of salsa dance and at times arranged her visits to Trinidad to enable her attendance at classes.