Monday, March 31, 2014

Discovering Art In Tobago

Snorkeling, fishing and diving are some of the favored activities in Tobago. But I went for the art. Yes, you heard me correctly. High above ever popular Mt. Irvine Beach, The Castle, as it's known, aka the Kimme Sculpture Museum, is a treasure trove of works by German-born Luise Kimme, a highly prolific and abundantly passionate sculptor and painter who died last year at the age of 74.

I prowled the galleries and nooks and crannies of the multi-story whitewashed mansion that served as her house, atelier and museum, admiring the multitude of her creations. The life-size or larger pieces carved from masses oak, cedar, mahogany and other trees -- in her 70s, she was still able to heft a chain saw -- embody so much of energy that if you stare long enough at any of 'em, you might believe they could actually become animated.

Kimme took inspiration from Tobagonian culture as well as that of Cuba -- a country she frequently visited -- and Africa, portraying Cuban musicians, Harlem Renaissance dancers as well as pieces reflecting native African religious (Orisha) art. Working in a multitude of media, including charcoal, oils, watercolors, and even embroidery, she was particularly inspired by folk themes as well as mythology.

The house is itself a work of art with cobalt blue bird sculptures perched on the roof, a mermaid lounging beside the pool, murals on the front facade, and fretwork all about. Curiously, I spent an hour on the property and didn't run into another visitor until I was about to leave. And I was told that locals rarely, if ever, visit the museum.







16 comments:

merr said...

Having the place to tour by yourself must have been a dream. The art in the photos is beautiful.

Brette said...

Beautiful artwork. This island is definitely on my list!

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi merr, It was lovely to be the only visitors. But it was so curious that this place wasn't a major attraction for visitors. Most people I spoke with didn't have any idea what I was talking about, and that included locals.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Brette, I spent 5 nights on Tobago and could've spent another week. There was a lot to do if you wanted an active vacation or you could simply choose a different stretch of sand each day and chill.

Roxanne said...

I just shared this with a sculptor I know ... because the chainsaws at 70 reminded me of her. I bet she too will be working with power tools in her 70s.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Roxanne, I really love strong (mentally and physically), creaetive women. I'm sure your sculptor friend will be wielding a chain saw until she is very old.

Sheryl said...

How fortunate you were to get so much undisturbed time with all this beauty. Love your photos!

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Sheryl, It was one of my favorite experiences on Tobago. I just wish I could've visited a year or more ago before the artist passed. I would have loved to have spoken with her.

Kerry Dexter said...

Thanks for sharing you visit, J. I always look for art -- musemms and in public places -- when I travel. adds great dimension to a place and a culture I find.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Kerry, I'm the same way. I'm always seeking out museums even in places where you would least expect to find them.

ruth pennebaker said...

Love this, Jeanine! Plus, it's so inspiring. I now aspire to wield a chainsaw in my 70s.

Jane Louise Boursaw said...

I love when art is incorporated into architecture and nature. This plays sounds lovely.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Ruth, That's definitely something wonderful to aspire to!

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Jane, I was totally surprised to find out that the building itself was a work of art. As I walked up and down and all around, there was something to discover around every corner.

Living Large said...

One of the things I love to do when visiting a new place is checking out the art. Thanks for this post, beautiful.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Living Large, I'm all about art, too. Love discovering small galleries on my travels.