Kim Duffet es escultor y, en medio de un viaje en crucero, paró en Buenos Aires. Se hospedó en el barrio en la casa de un arquitecto amigo. Desde allí tomó contacto con el periódico y le escribió a nuestro colaborador Jorge Luchetti para felicitarlo por su última columna. Aprovechamos la ocasión para conocer un poco de la carrera de este artista, que nació en Ohio y desde 1979 vive en el bello archipiélago del Pacífico.

Un día después de que saliera a la calle la edición de noviembre del periódico, el correo electrónico del Arq. Jorge Luchetti recibió un mensaje muy particular. “Hola Jorge, mi nombre es Kim Duffett y soy un escultor de Hawaii -comenzaba el mail, escrito en inglés-. Vine a Buenos Aires por poco tiempo y me estoy hospedando en Villa Urquiza en la casa de Emilio Higashi, padre de Darío Higashi, un arquitecto local que quizás conozcas. Leí tu reciente artículo en El Barrio acerca de la escultura en la Ciudad y noté que mencionaste un taller en el Parque 3 de Febrero, de Palermo, donde se dedican a restaurar obras. Estoy interesado en visitarlo y conocer el trabajo que llevan adelante. Aplaudo tus esfuerzos en compartir con la comunidad tu conocimiento sobre arte y escultura y te deseo lo mejor”.
Luego de este amable correo, quisimos indagar un poco en la vida de Kim y saber qué lo había traído al país. Nos contó que, junto a su esposa Adela Chu, estaba a bordo del crucero Zaandam, donde trabajan como profesores de arte y cultura. El buque pasa por Río de Janeiro y Santiago de Chile, pero Kim no sabía que necesitaba de una visa para entrar a Brasil y no pudo continuar el recorrido. Así fue como decidió quedarse por una semana en Buenos Aires, más precisamente en Villa Urquiza, donde fue recibido por la familia de Cynthia Higashi, una amiga argentina que vive en Hawaii.
“Estuve poco tiempo aquí pero disfruté de caminar por esta hermosa Ciudad y además pude practicar mi español -cuenta-. Como viví en Europa durante cuatro años y pasé alrededor de diez meses en Italia, pude apreciar la tonada italiana en la manera de hablar de los argentinos. Mi esposa es de Panamá, por lo que mi español es más parecido a como hablan allí. Es interesante comparar las diferencias en el lenguaje de ambos”.

Una de sus principales obras se exhibe en el Hilton Hawaiian Village y se titula Kaha ka ’Io me na Makani.

Su historia
Kim Duffet nació en Ohio, Estados Unidos, pero desde fines de los 70 vive en Hawaii. Se inclinó por el arte a los seis años, cuando comenzó a esculpir en madera, y luego estudió escultura y pintura en la escuela secundaria. Poco después de graduarse, encontró trabajo en la especialidad de su padre, la horticultura. Esta tarea lo llevó a una plantación ubicada en Kenia, África del Este, que le dio la oportunidad de estudiar con talladores de madera locales. Durante los siguientes cuatro años viajó y estudió en el norte del continente, en Italia y en otros países europeos, donde fue recibiendo la influencia artística de cada pueblo que visitaba.
De regreso en Estados Unidos, trabajó en California y Washington y en 1979 se mudó a Hawaii. Allí continuó esculpiendo principalmente en madera y un viaje de tres años en el Pacífico Sur (1982-85) lo puso en contacto con escultores en Fiji, Vanuatu, las Islas Salomón y Papua Nueva Guinea, tradiciones artísticas que lo inspiran hasta el día de hoy. Ya asentado en Hawaii, comenzó a trabajar en bronce a través de la fundición y expuso sus trabajo en galerías y exposiciones con jurado.
Una de sus principales obras se exhibe en el Hilton Hawaiian Village y se titula Kaha ka ’Io me na Makani, por el cual recibió el Premio Kahili de Artes Visuales en la celebración “Keep it Hawaii” de 2003. Sus trabajos, además, forman parte de colecciones privadas de Italia, Canadá, Holanda, Australia, Hong Kong y los Estados Unidos y se pueden ver en la Galería Waikiki Tabora y en las Galerías Cedar Street, ambas de bellas artes, ubicadas en Honolulu, capital de Hawaii.

Unidos por el arte
Nacida en Panamá y radicada en los 70 en San Francisco, la mujer de Kim es profesora de español, portugués y cultura latina. También da clases de música y salsa, que su esposo acompaña en la percusión y como pareja de baile. Es especialmente conocida por haber sido una de las fundadoras del Carnaval de San Francisco, un desfile y festival que se celebra el último fin de semana de mayo en esa ciudad de California desde el año 1979. Ambos son músicos y tienen una banda de jazz latino en Honolulu llamada Espíritu Libre.

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