Horizon at Sandy Point

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Caribbean soul, Cuban artist

We first met the artist Dunieski Lora Pileta in July 2013 at Luise Kimme's castle in Mt Irvine Tobago. We learned that Kimme had found him in Cuba where he had the technique to turn her  small sculptures into bronzes. Cuba inspired Kimme as Tobago had done for 40 years. She loved the Cuban art and music, the style and verve and hunger for life of the people. So it was no surprise that she would bring Dunieski to Tobago where he helped with the heavy lifting and strenuous work that she was no longer capable of. But he is more than the master's apprentice.

Dunieski has adopted Kimme's dogs
One year later, "the Cuban" - as he is known to his Tobagonian friends - maintains the Kimme museum while he makes his own art. He has learned to speak English and enjoys barter relationships with people who have discovered his ingenuity for fixing engines and small machines. The Cuban is resourceful and innovative. He works hard, and is constantly learning. With new English, he found the parts and materials to build the workshop and kiln that allows bronze casting. The workshop with the kiln had been planned by Kimme.

The small workshop with kiln that Dunieski built.

In Tobago, he lives a solitary life with the freedom to create and work, and opportunities that he might not have in Cuba. His family in Santiago de Cuba - the second largest town and a port on the southeast coast - is his primary motivation. He lived in Santiago all his life; graduating from high school and Universidad de Oriente in Santiago, in art: two dimensional forms such as lithography and painting as well as the plastic arts, ceramics, sculpture and metal casting.
Dunieski with some of his work at Kimme's castle

The Dog on Roller Skates is man tall

The high kicking Harlequin Clown

Venus with pig on top

At the Kimme castle, Dunieski respects the spaces of the master. The castle remains unchanged - tidy and repaired - and you imagine that she'll appear one more time, just around the next corner, through that door, imperious as ever. Discreetly, Dunieski occupies as little space as possible. He moves lightly through the kitchen and the fretwork shaded passageway with the big blue worktable. He barely relaxes in living quarters that were assigned to him. But he has collected his own work in a smaller room adjacent to Kimme's high ceilinged gallery.

He is available to guide the occasional visitor through Kimme's work, the hall of drawings; the "chapel" that's the gallery of her larger pieces, the small room of her Cuban portraits and little bronzes.

In this space, the master has departed; the apprentice works. After a classical education that included European Apollo, churches and palaces and Brancusi, Kimme herself arrived in Tobago at 40. She wrote, "I found myself in a valley in Tobago, looking around if anyone from England, USA or Germany could see me, leant a tall cedar tree against a cluster of breadfruit trees and began to carve Banana Lady."

Dunieski - in his 39th year - breathes the Tobago air, and dreams Cuban dreams. Perhaps, Tobago and Cuba are not that far apart; both inspire Caribbean dreams. How Dunieski's dream will materialise, we'll have to wait and see. If you want to see more of Dunieski's work, look at his facebook page:

Rory and Bunty O'Connor of Ajoupa Pottery have supported Dunieski's work.

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