Tinga Tinga Today: Tanzanian Popular Art in Transition

April 9, 2015 to September 30, 2015

In Tinga Tinga Today, Indigo Arts considers the unique genre of popular painting that has flourished in Tanzania since the late 1960's. With the passing of Omary Amonde, the last of the "first generation" Tinga Tinga artists, we look at the legacy of founder Edward Saidi Tingatinga, and the directions taken by the artists today. Tinga Tinga painting takes its name and its inspiration from Edward Saidi Tingatinga (1932 – 1972). Born in a village in the far south of the colony then known as Tanganyika, he migrated north to the capital of Dar es Salaam in search of work in 1957. He worked as a gardener for expatriates before finding a better job as ward attendant at Muhimbili National Hospital. A resourceful man, Tingatinga was ever trying other ways to support his family. Admiring the apparent ease with which itinerant artists from the Congo sold their “jungle” paintings to European tourists, he determined to try his own hand at painting. He used readily available materials – high-gloss bicycle enamel on square hardboard ceiling tiles. His elegantly simple paintings of wild animals, birds and village scenes were naïve, charming and sold quickly. Others were inspired by his success, and he agreed to take on six apprentices, mostly members of his family or his mother’s Makua tribe. But Tingatinga did not enjoy his success for long. One night in May 1972 he was shot dead by the Dar es Salaam police in what is generally described as a “case of mistaken identity”. Though his painting career spanned only four years, Edward Saidi Tingatinga launched a painting industry in Tanzania. After his death his original six students organized themselves in a group that came to bear his name. The artists worked in a “naïve” style inspired by their teacher – some quite literally, and others expanding into new subjects and more elaborate, even baroque, styles. In the ensuing forty years Tingatinga painting has become the ubiquitous national art of Tanzania, in quality that ranges from very original naïve art to decorative but derivative work that is often dismissed as “airport” art. The work shown here is nearly all by members of the Tinga Tinga Cooperative, but it represents the several distinct directions in which the style has evolved.

Tanzania Uganda War (War in Uganda)
SKU: TT-1418

March, 2014
Oil enamel on canvas (31 1/2" x 39 1/4") (80cm x 100cm).  With custom framing.

$1200 Framed
Grandfather and Grandsons Sayuki Matindiko
SKU: Tinga-23

2010
Oil enamel on canvas (23 1/2" h x 19 3/4"w)

$875
Hippo
SKU: TT-1507

January, 2013
Oil enamel on canvas (21 1/2" h x 29 1/2"w) (55 x 75cm).

$850
The East African Slave Trade
SKU: TT1503

2014
Oil enamel on canvas (31.5" x 39.5") (80cm x 100cm).

$850
Tilling the Soil
SKU: Tinga26

c.2010
Oil enamel on canvas (30" x 35 1/2") (76cm x 90cm)

$800
The Rooster and the Chameleon
SKU: TT1508

February, 2014
Oil enamel on canvas (271/2" h x 19 3/4"w) (70 x 50cm).

$775
Steven (Said A.) Mkumba
SKU: Tinga-84

Steven (Said A.) Mkumba (b. 1963) - Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
February, 2013
Oil enamel on canvas (27 1/2" h x 39 3/8"w) (70cm x 100cm)

$750
Tinga Tinga Art Studio
SKU: TT-1419

October, 2013
Oil enamel on canvas (29" x 21") (74cm x 54cm).

$650
Music Makers, Sayuki Matindiko
SKU: Tinga-11

2010
Oil enamel on canvas (21 1/2" h x 15 1/2"w)

$550
Leopards and Birds
SKU: Tinga-18

Rashidi Rubuni (b. 1969, Livangula, Tanzania) - Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania (member of Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society)
c. 2010
Oil enamel on canvas (35 1/4" h x 25 1/2"w).

$525
Zebra
SKU: TT-1402

August., 2013
Oil enamel on canvas (18" h x 18"w) (45 x 45cm).

$450
Snake amid the Guinea Fowl
SKU: TT1403

August, 2013
Oil enamel on canvas (18" h x 18"w) (45 x 45cm).

$450
Grazing Zebra
SKU: TT1420

October, 2013
Oil enamel on canvas (18" h x 18"w) (45 x 45cm).

$450
Bush Hospital
SKU: Tinga46

2013
Oil enamel on canvas (23" h x 31"w, 60cm x 80cm).

$450
Bringing in the Fish
SKU: TT1317

Jan., 2013
Oil enamel on canvas (14" h x 12"w) (35 x 30cm)

$250