Luise Kimme: Inside the Late Artist’s Tobago Studio

Art & Architecture
April 24, 2013 11:42 am

Sculpture artist Luise Kimme was born in Germany, trained and worked around the world and settled in Tobago in 1979. Tobago, the smaller sister of the two-island nation Trinidad and Tobago, also was where she passed away last Friday following a brief illness. I had the privilege of visiting Kimme’s sculpture garden, home and studio while in Trinidad and Tobago for Carnival this past February.

Taken from the entrance to Luise Kimme's home and studio

Taken from the entrance to Luise Kimme’s home and studio

Kimme was sassy, eccentric and endearing the way only artists can be and her work, beguiling. In Tobago she had dedicated herself to sculpture work that reflected and represented the people of the island. Most were larger-than-life figures carved, sanded and painted from fallen trees to resemble admiring caricature versions of the locals and their spirit: all voluptuousness and grace rendered in her marked style.

Two of Luise Kimme's sculptures on display in her showroom

Two of Kimme’s sculptures on display in her showroom

She hobbled around a bit, complaining of a pinched nerve, but her bright eyes rung with metallic blue eyeliner were quick and alive, darting around. Her German expatriate friends sat in the open-air kitchen saying whatever they wanted about our small group because we could not understand, but they smiled at us from time to time and you could tell they liked our presence for her. Her audience was small on our private visit, but it was clear, though not forthright, that she relished it.

Luise Kimme at work with Steve Bennett of Uncommon Caribbean observing

Kimme at work with Steve Bennett of Uncommon Caribbean observing

She spoke of her assistant who was good with the carving tools and helped her with the heavy lifting, and of her upcoming trip back to Germany. She told us of her plan, already in motion, to bring aspiring artists from around the world to her home, her studio to work and stay for a number of weeks on scholarship.

I was saddened to hear of her passing.

Kimme walking through her work space, filled with trunks of unfinished sculptures

Kimme walking through her work space, filled with trunks of unfinished sculptures

Luise Kimme Sculpture Museum Tobago

-Karina

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