1st August marks Tina Rimmer’s 100th birthday, which will be celebrated with the launched of a three month long (until December 2017) Retrospective Exhibition of her works at the Sabah Art Gallery.
This Retrospective Exhibition: ‘Remembering Tina Rimmer 1917-2017’ will showcase more than 200 of Tina’s work produced between 1948 and 2013 comprises art pieces ranging from portraits, animals, to landscapes.
Tina Rimmer’s work
Since her arrival to Sabah as an education officer in 1949, Tina Rimmer, a Sabah Cultural Icon, produced an extensive portfolio of artworks comprising pencil and pastel drawings, Chinese ink, watercolour and oil paintings. She was the first artist to hold an exhibition at the Sabah Art Gallery when it opened in 1984 (see picture below: purple booklet).
A crucial aspect of Tina’s work was her intensive study of local people, animals, objects and their surroundings “from life”, as is most obvious in her paintings and drawings of the tamu (local market) scenes in Tamparuli.
Her subjects included people selling fish and tobacco, women carrying their babies while doing their work, children playing and people conducting negotiation in a busy market.
“I would often go to the Tamparuli Tamu that’s held every Wednesday. I would draw one or two sketches each time,” Tina recalled during the launch her memoir — ‘A Life on Two Islands’ in 2015.
How Tina Rimmer Drew
Most of her drawings and sketches were done in sketchbooks which were then used as a reference for her finished paintings. Once back in her studio, she would produce composite drawings from her sketches using pastels before completing the paintings in oil. From the late 90s onwards, Tina’s works comprised mainly of pastels and Chinese ink drawings as the smell of the oil paint became too strong for her.
Her Weekly Routine
Tina was at her most prolific after retiring in the mid-eighties, making weekly trips to the Tamparuli tamu via a hanging bridge from her house. There, she would sit and sketches whatever unfolded before her eyes producing hundreds of portraits during those years typically.
During the launch of her memoir — ‘A Life on Two Islands’ in 2015
A new book of Tina’s paintings and sketches is to be published next year, according to publisher Datuk C.L. Chan. “I would like to include as many of Tina’s works in colour in the book as possible and would be pleased if collectors of Tina’s work contact me,” according to him.
Name : Mary Christina Lewin
Artworks : Over 1,000 pieces in her lifetime a retired teacher turned artist,
First Portrait : John, a young Chinese who worked at the Jesselton Government Rest House located
behind the Atkinson Clock Tower.
Last Portrait : A portrait in early 2017; remains unfinished.
Attended the 'Retrospective Exhibition Remembering Tina Rimmer: 1917-2017' at the Sabah Art Gallery on 1st August 2017. From left: Mr Sintiong Gelet Director of Sabah Museum, Guest-of-Honour Mr William Baya General Manager of Sabah Cultural Board representing Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk CL Chan of Natural History Publications (Borneo) and Miss me! 1 August 2017 Kota Kinabalu Photo credit: Datuk CL Chan #SabahArtGallery #TinaRimmer #SabahCulturalIcon #SabahIcon #tourism #culture #art #paintings #artist #ministry #Sabah #KotaKinabalu #Tamparuli @sabahartgallery
Timeline of the late Tina Rimmer’s life:
|2017||August 1st, Retrospective Exhibition: Remembering Tina Rimmer 1917-2017 held at Sabah Art Gallery.|
|2017||June 1st, Awarded ‘Sabah Cultural Icon’ by Sabah Cultural Heritage Council presented by State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun to Rimmer’s grandniece Shona Lewin, who flew in from Brisbane.|
|2017||May 31st, Renowned veteran artist Tina Rimmer passed away at Jesselton Medical Centre – 4.45pm, Wednesday, two months short of her 100th birthday. Rimmer’s last request was that her ashes be scattered at sea.|
|2015||July 9th, Tina launched her memoir – A Life on Two Islands – at a private function in The Sabah Society, attended by 13 close friends. The memoir tells the story of Tina’s life in the United Kingdom and British North Borneo where she arrived in 1949 as the Colony’s first female education officer. Co-edited by the late Frances Kupicha, Beatrice Kupicha and Danny Wong. Published by Opus Publications. The memoir is on sale at The Borneo Shop in Wisma Merdeka, The Museum Shop at Sabah Museum and Kadaiku Souvenir Shop at Sinsuran.|
|1999||The Sabah Society published a selection of Tina’s paintings as a pictorial book entitled ‘The Tamparuli Tamu: A Sabah Market’. The book is on sale at The Borneo Shop in Wisma Merdeka, The Museum Shop at Sabah Museum and Kadaiku Souvenir Shop at Sinsuran.|
|1995||Tina was an active member of the Palliative Care Association since 1995 bringing joy to many patients by drawing their portraits for the family. The prolific artist had made sketches for over 500 patients at the PCAKK Day Care Centre over many years.|
|1990||Several years after Bert passed away, Tina moved to a house in Taman Orchid, Likas, and eventually placed in an old folk’s home in Papar.|
|1984||Tina Rimmer was the first artist to have a solo art exhibition in Sabah Art Gallery when it opened in 1984.|
|1974||The couple later moved to Tamparuli where they had a place by the riverside near the old Tamparuli bridge.|
|1974||Tina retired as an education officer.|
|1959||Tina married Bert Rimmer, a planter in Lahad Datu. They settled in a farm where she learned to rear cattle and planting fruits.|
|1951||Tina Rimmer and Lucille Plunkett, a police officer’s wife who was also an artist, and they decided to form a group to develop their style. Together, they staged the first art exhibition to be held in the state, at All Saints Secondary School, Likas. (that’s my school!)|
|1951||She was one of the original lecturers at Kent Teacher’s Training and later taught at Siew Ching Chinese School and Saint Dominic’s secondary school, both in Lahad Datu.|
|1917||August 1st, Born Mary Christina Lewin in Devon, England.|
See with your eyes and see with your heart – Tina Rimmer