(16 June 1936 – 12 March 2021)
Alok Chinmayo was born Hermann Joseph (James) Schmitz in Duisburg, Germany and died also in Duisburg at the age of 85. After taking sannyas in 1980 he changed his art name to Chinmayo. For more than fifty years he has been an important part of Duisburg’s artistic and cultural life. Starting his career in 1966 he became a renowned painter, installation artist and writer.
After being part of the Wilhelm Wiacker’s studio, he became a member of the Duisburg Secession and co-founder of the Duisburg Artists’ Interest Group (IG). He was also a member of the Association of German Writers, the European Authors’ Association, Die Kogge e.V., and the Düsseldorf Artists’ Association, Malkasten, as well as the founder of the Asanga-Edition and Galerie am Meidericher Stadtpark in Duisburg.
In 1982, 1986 and 1989 he took part in the artist exchange between the then USSR and Duisburg, and in 1989 received the Siemens-Nixdorf AG Art Prize. In September 2020, Chinmayo received the Mercator Badge of Honour of the City of Duisburg as an award for his services to art and culture.
Numerous works of art are placed in public spaces and among his publications to be mentioned are: Für die Gegenwart bestimmt. Gedichte (Dedicated to the Present. Poems) and Maske und Feuer – Eine Textauswahl (Mask and Fire – A Selection of Texts).
Tribute by Sugandho
Beloved brother, Chinmayo, how grateful I am for the time we spent together in mutual support and love. You agreed on adopting me as your sister; you were a single child and longed for family, and I had two sisters and always wanted an older brother. The soul siblings were born.
We met in Duisburg after I had just left the Osho Commune in Berlin. It was such a drastic change in my life and how excited was I to see you at the Duisburg University all dressed in red and with a mala around your neck. It was the time when Osho had suggested we could drop the color red and wearing the mala, due to the difficulties the sannyasin were facing after the Oregon breakdown that was covered by the media worldwide. Neither you nor I could give up on wearing red; it had been such an imprint for so many years that any other color looked odd. The red outfit could not be missed on a University campus! We both felt that Osho had sent the other as a gift in this dry University environment.
You were a gifted artist in Duisburg and your sannyas name Chinmayo became known far beyond the sannyas world. When you showed me your chakra paintings, 7 huge paintings in the colors of the chakras, we decided to offer chakra meditations in the museum where they were exhibited.
You took me for day-long shopping tours, because my dress code felt too boring to you and you made me buy a bright orange summer coat that I wore until it fell off me.
You took me into your home when my boyfriend broke up with me and sheltered me until I got back onto my own feet. I lived between all your artwork, surrounded by paintings and sculptures – and knew that it was a big step for you to share your private home.
You made me write letters on paper and send them by post, because you refused emails – and mobile phones. What a rediscovery this was!
Since I received the news of your departure I feel you often close by. When I walk my dogs in the desert, I can see your smiling eyes and hear your voice when you said to me about my dogs: ‘Sugandho, du bist auf den Hund gekommen!’
Thank you, brother, you are always in my heart!
Excerpt from obits in the Press
Until shortly before his death, the artist appeared almost ageless. He became known for his expressive works with natural materials, including dead wood from the Meiderich City Park, where he was an honorary ‘caretaker’. Chinmayo described his house at the park as a “laboratory for exploring creative ideas.” After his death, the house is to become a studio where artists can work in a stimulating and peaceful atmosphere. This Chinmayo house will now, we hope, soon be a creative space that will commemorate an artist who is sorely missed by many.
From: Tod im Alter von 85 Jahren : Kunstszene in Duisburg trauert um Chinmayo (Death at the age of 85 : Art scene in Duisburg mourns Chinmayo) by Peter Klucken in RP Online – rp-online.de
Obits in the Press
- RP Online, March 15, 2021 by Peter Klucken: Kunstszene in Duisburg trauert um Chinmayo (Art scene in Duisburg mourns the death of Chinmayo) – rp-online.de
- WAZ, March 15, 2021: Duisburger Kunstzene trauert um den verstorbene Chinmayo (Duisburg art scene mourns the passing of Chinmayo) – www.waz.de
- Press Realease by the Lehmbruck Museum published in the Wochen Anzeiger Duisburg, March 16, 2021: Chinmayo ist tot ( Chinmayo is dead ) – www.lokalkompass.de
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