Artists Use Trinidad and Tobago’s Landscape as Inspiration for Exhibition


Artist Ryan Huggins. – Melissa Miller

Four artists who met through the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, a fine arts academy in Germany, are participating in a 12-week art residency at the Luise Kimme Museum in Tobago. The artists, including one from TT, were invited to explore TT’s cultural landscape to work on pieces for the inaugural Heat Waves exhibition which opened July 16.

Trini Ryan Huggins worked at the academy with Tadashi Toyama, Jana Zatvarnicka and Janis Lohrer for seven years. Their varied traditions, cultures and languages ​​have not prevented them from producing works for local exhibition.

From left to right, artists Ryan Huggins, Tadashi Toyama, Jana Zatvarnicka and Janis Lohrer from the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in Tobago for a 12-week artistic residency. – Melissa Miller

Huggins has described himself as a figurative painter who fuses ideas surrounding alternative youth subcultures within queer communities. He said he was looking at queer references and terminologies in terms of body, social identity and gender which could be seen as a growing language. He said his paintings in the Heat Waves exhibit will “breathe life into queer social gatherings”.

Tadashi Toyama from Japan shows his work at the Heat Waves exhibition at the Luise Kimme Museum, Tobago. – Melissa Miller

His pieces depict pool parties using bright lights, dark shadows and impressionist-style figures, all male, to fill in the paint which will highlight the themes of a fun and festive atmosphere. Huggins will also feature life-size figures supported by light and decorations to depict young men stimulating a sense of lust and confidence, while acknowledging youth and beauty.

Artist Ryan Huggins focuses on one of his paintings. – Melissa Miller

Toyoma’s paintings merge his personal experiences with fictional events to form his own world. He said his paintings are constantly evolving as they are heavily influenced by his discoveries in nature and culture which aid in the process of choosing colors.

In Trinidad, Huggins and Toyama will open the second installment of the Heat Waves exhibition at the Y Art Gallery, Port of Spain, on August 5, 6-8 p.m.