I never got to meet the German-born sculptor, Luise Kimme. She passed away in her adopted country of Tobago in April of 2013; every time I returned home and managed a boat-ride over to Tobago, the Kimme Museum was either closed, or she was away on a trip, collecting her logs for carving.
There was so much I wanted to ask her about the art practice she developed, and how it came into its own in an island space so removed from Germany. Apparently, it took upwards of three years for a sculpture to emerge from one of her logs, and more than the patience required to follow through on the same work for such an extended period of time, I wondered about the sense of movement she imbued into the forms.
It was a movement that was unequivocally Caribbean and specifically Tobagonian in its nuances - the Jig, Indo-Caribbean hand motions, the spasmodic spirals of a body swept up in Shouter Baptist worship... How did she, a foreigner, understand these things so intimately?
Part of the answer was laid bare across her home at the foothills of Mt. Irvine, where her self-designed 'castle' stood at the highest swell of a sloping expanse. Left largely untouched, I could see elements of how she lived in direct communication with the Tobagonian culture and space in a responsive, instinctive manner, with the detritus of her life and work scattered across the entire house. I felt compelled to photograph and share some of the scenes encountered - the stately, wooden Morris chairs waiting for someone to recline in them, the walls of sketches, the carved and bronzed models in various stages of completion - for the pages of Au Courant Vol. 02.
Especially beautiful to note was her almost reflexive use of that particular, ceremonial shade of blue against the stark white of the house. Given her roughly-hewn take on the Gingerbread House style of architecture that has come to symbolize Trinidad & Tobago of yore, the combination of tones felt urgent and bold in a way that has stuck with me.
Here, a few of the images still inhabiting my mind.
Words & Images | Lisa-Marie Harris
Shot on Location at Kimme Museum