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11+ Years on the Internet!                    2,900+ Paintings Sold!                    80+ Artists Represented, and Growing!                    No Fixed Prices!

                                                 

One who does not travel will not know that value of men - Moroccan proverb
From Tanzania: Original TingaTinga Paintings

These days there are various Tinga Tinga schools of painting - from intricate and detailed animals intertwined with the feathers of peacocks, to tourist-oriented work with simple stylized characters at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Both are nice and have their unique appeals.

However, in my recent trip to Kenya I found it extremely difficult to find the once easy to procure Tinga Tinga paintings. One reason is they are primarily made in Tanzania and Zanzibar and imported to Kenya. Since there are so few tourists in Kenya these days the market has dried-up. Also, the few nice paintings that I found were outrageously expensive and the owners refused to budge on the prices.

Luckily a friendship was born between myself and an interesting and enthusiastic chap who is working closely with the TingaTinga Artists Cooperative Society (TACS). We decided that my website, and his connections and passion for all things TingaTinga, would work nicely together - so it is through Inside African Art that we started to market the TingaTinga paintings produced by the TACS. But not only my website, others too were in cooperation marketin the paintings across the world - what great excitement!

Our Tinga Tinga paintings are from the family of E.S.Tingatinga

Once upon the time a man called Edward Saidi Tingatinga painted under Baobab tree in Dar es Salaam. It is not fair tale, it was in 1968. He was a very successful painter. Until his death he taught 6 students who later taught other painters. Now there are hundreds of painters in Tanzania! The definition of Tinga Tinga is difficult to grasp since the paintings are very different today. Technically the Tinga Tinga paintings are painted by industrial enamel colors. Many paintings on this website are painted by the family of E.S.Tingatinga. Some of them are by the son of E.S.Tingatinga, some of them are painted by the last living student of E.S.Tingatinga, called Omari Amonde.

If you are fond of bright colors and design simplicity, then Tinga Tinga paintings are for you! There is an excellent and informative article by Berit Sahlström below that explains the history of the Tinga Tinga style of painting.

Inside African Art is the official U.S. representative for the TingaTinga Artists Cooperative Society (TACS). Please see the TACS website for more information.


More paintings:
Tinga Tinga Home      Tinga Tinga Page 2      Tinga Tinga Page 3    TingaTinga Page 4 (sold out!)    TingaTinga Page 5     TingaTinga Page 6

 

Inside African Art works in close cooperation with the Internet's most indepth authority on Tinga Tinga arts: Afrum.com

Artist: Emilias
Title: TT 766
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $360
Artist: Emilias
Title: TT 769
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $360
Artist: Sufiani
Title: TT 804
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $340
Artist: Issa
Title: TT 800
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320 Sold! April '13 - Birthday gift for her husband! Thanks Geralyn!
Artist: Chilambo
Title: Fruit Heaven1
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320
Artist: Jabili
Title: TT 797
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $360
Artist: Chilambo
Title: Fruit Heaven3
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320
Artist: Amiiry
Title: TT 776
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320
Artist: Bakir
Title: TT 788
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320
Artist: Emilias
Title: TT 795
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $360 Sold! 20 Nov '13 -
Thanks Michael
Artist: Bakir
Title: TT 770
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $340
Artist: Jabili
Title: TT 771
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320
Artist: Sufiani
Title: TT 790
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $360
Artist: Ally
Title: TT 787
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $380
Artist: Chilambo
Title: Fruit Heaven5
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320
Artist: Ally
Title: TT 775
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $360
Artist: Chilambo
Title: Fruit Heaven4
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320
Artist: Sufiani
Title: TT 791
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320
Artist: Sufiani
Title: TT 767
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $360
Artist: Bakir
Title: TT 768
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $360

More paintings:
Tinga Tinga Home      Tinga Tinga Page 2      Tinga Tinga Page 3    TingaTinga Page 4 (sold out!)    TingaTinga Page 5     TingaTinga Page 6

 
   
Artist: Ally
Title: TT 777
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320
    Artist: Chilambo
Title: Fruit Heaven2
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320 Sold! 14 May '11 - To our friend the traveling trainer! Paris, Cairo, Nairobi - he has the best job in the world! Thanks Tony!
Artist: Amani
Title: TT 798
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320 Sold! 13 Feb '12 - On on its way to the UK - Thanks Kairen!
Artist: Rubuni
Title: TT 799
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320 Sold! 12 Nov '12 - Thanks Alina - You are a thoughtful grnadmother!
Artist: Emilias
Title: TT 786
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $360 Sold! 14 Nov '12 - And on its way to Switzerland Thanks Isabella!
Artist: Rashidi
Title: TT 785
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320
Sold ! 28th Nov '11 Thanks Sharon!
Artist: Rashidi
Title: Kichem Chem
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $380 Sold!
Artist: Rashidi
Title: TT 794
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320 Sold! 20 May '11 - She climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and now has Tanzania in her blood! Thanks Nora!
Artist: Mwamedi Chiwaya
Title: TT 782
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $360
Sold ! 28th Nov '11 Thanks Sharon!
Artist: Ally
Title: TT 781
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320 Sold! 12 Nov '12 - Thanks Alina - You are a thoughtful grnadmother!
Artist: Daudi E. S. TingaTinga
Title: TT 784
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $400 Sold!
Artist: Abdallah
Title: TT 796
Dimensions: 30" x 30" (76 x 76cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $320 Sold! 12 Nov '12 - Thanks Alina - You are a thoughtful grandmother!
Artist: R. Duke
Title: TT 774
Dimensions: 11" x 14" (28 x 35cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $70 Sold! 18 Nov '11 - To a long-time friend of IAA - since 2007! Thanks Tareska!
Artist: R. Duke
Title: TT 773
Dimensions: 11" x 14" (28 x 35cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Price: $70 Sold! 7 Oct '11 - He called when I was in a traffic jam, and now his painting is on its way to Oregon! Thanks Greg!
 

More paintings:
Tinga Tinga Home      Tinga Tinga Page 2      Tinga Tinga Page 3    TingaTinga Page 4 (sold out!)    TingaTinga Page 5     TingaTinga Page 6

If you are interested in purchasing any of our Tinga Tinga paintings, please go to our Purchasing Form

Or, perhaps you would prefer to Make an Offer?
 

 

 

Between tradition and tourism:
Tingatinga and his followers

by Berit Sahlström

Once there was a man called Edward S. Tingatinga. He was born in TANZANIA. During the 1960s he established an art form that became associated with his new homeland, Tanzania. Today, "Tingatinga" is the Tanzanian term for this form of art, known mostly in Tanzania, Kenya, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

Bicycle paint painting by Edward S. Tingatinga. Copyright © Jesper Kirknæs, P.O. Box 128, DK-Frederiksberg, Denmark.

Over the years, knowledge about Tingatinga has spread to other parts of Africa and Europe, as well as to other English-speaking parts of the world. Tingatinga is a concept that development assistance workers and African tourists alike have been drawn to, but which, over time, has lost its uniqueness. In the past, Tingatinga art could be sold on its name alone, but increasingly other works of art are being presented as "Tingatinga" as well.

From a purely technical standpoint, Tingatinga art can be defined as painting on masonite using bicycle paint. The paintings can be as small as ceramic tiles, while the biggest paintings are no doubt hanging above thousands of family room sofas. Market limitations have prevented artists from working in larger formats. A majority of the buyers have been foreigners wanting to transport the images out of the country by airplane. From that perspective, Tingatinga is a genuine form of "airport art" - cultural art from developing nations that has been adapted to the special requirements of long-distance travelers, including size. Also the choice of motifs in Tingatinga art has often been adapted to the purchaser's expectations of what should be included in an African painting.

Idioms come together

The heart of Tingatinga art is centered on coastal east African design, where the decorative vines and patterns of the Swahili culture cover delineated spaces that are never allowed to remain completely empty. It is reminiscent of the beautiful, archetypal medieval wooden doors, found in the trading cities along the east African coast, as well as the many modern printed cotton fabrics in the form of kitenges and kangas. The flat, lush surface decorations can even be found in revolutionary illustrations from early 1970s political pamphlets, which were produced in Tanzania by the exiled Mozambican freedom fighters.

A follower, Chimwanda, is among those who know how to fill the  masonite surface with decorative forms. Copyright © Jesper Kirknæs, P.O. Box 128, DK-Frederiksberg, Denmark.

The designs are also used by many of today's younger artists and handicrafts people, in attempts to identify their own domestic artistic paths in painting, sculpture, carpentry, embroidery etc. Makonde sculptors from Mozambique and Tanzania often show this desire. Horror vacui  (fear of emptiness) is also found among several of southern and eastern Africa's established artists: Malangatana from Mozambique, Helen Sebidi from South Africa, painter Mankeu and sketcher and painter Idassé from Mozambique.

José Craverinha should also be mentioned among the modern artists who have adapted the decorative designs of Swahili culture, but with strong and meaningful motifs. Linoleum cuts designed during the 60s, 70s and 80s at the missionary and art schools in South Africa and Tanzania (those of the now deceased and independent-minded John Muafangejo, for example) are related to the designs in form, but do not clearly trace back to an East African pattern tradition. If such links could be proven, they were no doubt created with the encouragement of Nordic missionaries, artists active in Africa and development assistance workers, all of whom were looking for viable concepts for the "true African image".

Peacock by Tingatinga

But there is a conflict in Tingatinga art, especially when one looks at how it has been developed by the followers of the artist who gave it his name. There is a collision or an encounter of two or three of the world's leading art idioms. It was Tingatinga's successors who developed the decorative vein of Tingatinga painting, while the artist himself painted "the big five" and other motifs that were not at all based on the decorative art idiom. "The big five" was a central theme of art and handicrafts from southern and eastern Africa, symbolizing the typical, large animals on the continent: elephant, lion, giraffe, hippopotamus and antelope (or ox). It is closer to being a single-motif art form, a narrative image with a main subject and contributing attributes and symbols. This sort of imagery is found both in the three-dimensional art (sculpture, masks) of other African cultures, as well as in the foundations of Western European art idioms.

Peacock by Bushiri. Copyright © Jesper Kirknæs, P.O. Box 128, DK-Frederiksberg, Denmark.

By filling surfaces as completely as possible, with one or more of these animals, Tingatinga artists often use the motifs as if they were a part of the Swahili tradition anyway. Animal figures are drawn so that they in their entirety fit into the frame of masonite, or two animals are decoratively placed next to each other, as if they were intertwined calligraphy letters from an old Nordic textile design - or, rather, a selection out of an artistically rendered, beautiful Arabic Koran verse. Many Tingatinga paintings illustrate both the origins of and the meeting between east and west in eastern Africa.

Bicycle paint in vibrant colors

Bicycle paint is a good medium to work in when making clear, vibrant colored paintings that contain sharp contrasts, and still it allows for the ability to work with surfaces of harmonizing shades. Since the paint does not dry very fast, it requires that the artist first paints the background, letting the paint dry before working on the actual motif. This technique of letting the background dry, as well as the thick consistency of bicycle paint, are what make Tingatinga paintings so easy to interpret, since they display contours and clearly separated color surfaces.

The development assistance policies of the Scandinavian countries have, generally speaking, both invited and provided the economic prerequisites for cultural endeavors, to a larger degree than aid to Africa from other countries. Tanzania and Mozambique are countries that have been of special interest to the Nordic countries, while the U.S. and the U.K. have remained somewhat outside of the independence movements of these nations, as well as their later socialistic development.

Tingatinga artists have been supported by the purchase of individual works and whole collections, as well as through the printing and sales of postcards. There have also been several exhibitions arranged in Scandinavia. During the 1980s the history of modern African art was written in English, e.g. the language that today is the prerequisite for any international spread of knowledge. Familiarity with art movements such as Tingatinga, Ujamaa sculptures (which, like Tingatinga painting, is also based in Dar-es-Salaam), Rorke's Drift in South Africa, the Poto-poto school in West Africa, and many other modern artistic developments, has been spread successively through the interaction between active artists and cultural workers from Europe and Africa. The Anglo-Saxon academic world has not shown any great interest in them, nor are they written about very often in English-language cultural publications. The explanation is simple. There is not enough of a connection to British colonial history. Historical writers have focused their interests either on movements where the initiative was either British or British-colonial, or on "non-colonial" Africa - the "inner" worlds of "foreign" cultures such as fetishism and shamanism.

Economic and ideological inquiries

Art and handicrafts need to be salable, more or less on their own strengths. Entrepreneurial African artists have, together with Scandinavian artists and cultural workers from development assistance organizations, tried to find those sorts of products which the market will accept. The myth that neither colonial culture nor post-colonial development assistance operations can influence "free" Africans, is a philosophical problem which cannot be refuted enough. This very supposition has pushed forward the meeting between African culture and the West by more than a thousand years, to a period that is entirely distant from the truth. A desire to identify a unique African culture, especially in conjunction with various independence movements, has unfortunately frequently made a case based on differences between Africa and the West, rather than viewing history from a longer and broader perspective.

The most reasonable conclusion one can reach about Tingatinga art, is to describe the meeting between Scandinavians and Tingatinga and his colleagues as historic and as having influences on both Western and African cultures. It is an historic meeting between initiative rich, creative people in Dar-es-Salaam who earn their livelihoods by selling handmade artistic products, and Scandinavian cultural assistance. Through their sale, however, the paintings have spread far beyond that bilateral contact.

Tingatinga and his circle

In the spring of 1996, Mia Terént wrote an art history paper entitled Edward S. Tingatinga and his art. According to Mia Terénts excellent introductory text, Edward S. Tingatinga grew up in a farm family in Mozambique and made his way to Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania as a 16 year old in 1955. He made his first paintings in 1965 or 1967. His discovery that he could derive an income from this, led to several of his relatives to also begin painting on masonite, an easily available material, with bicycle paint.

The paintings were sold outside of a convenience store in Oysterbay, a white residential area in Dar-Es-Salaam. Cooperation amongst the artists meant that some of them began to specialize in backgrounds while others focused on the main motifs. This also led to some of them becoming leading names within the established Tingatinga art form. According to Meret Teisen, one of Mia Terént's sources, it was through a Scandinavian initiative that Tingatinga was able to put his work on display at the national museum in the capital, and which is considered to have been the first domestic exhibition at the museum, as well as the first one to incorporate autodidacts (self-taught artists).

Shetani love scene

Among Edward S. Tingatinga's successors, his half brother Seymond Mpata should be mentioned. In the beginning of his career, he painted tourist-friendly landscape motifs such as "Kilimanjaro" with its snow-capped peak, landscapes with exotic animals, etc. (His stylistic tendencies towards surface embellishment were developed later.) A cousin to Edward's wife, January Linda, was instrumental to his establishment in the market at an early stage, and she was also a painter herself. Cousins Alcis Amonde and Kasper Henrik Tedo joined the operation as did nephew Abdallah Ajaba. Edward Tingatinga lost his life in 1972 when he entered a restricted area near a harbor and chose to run when ordered to stop. He was shot to death.

But Tingatinga art lives on. Masonite boards painted with bicycle paint can still be found in well-stocked "curio shops", shopping centers and tourist shops in eastern and southern Africa, as well as in solidarity shops located throughout Western Europe. Export of Tingatinga paintings from Tanzania to Kenya's capital, Nairobi, and other tourist centers, seems to be lively.

The term Tingatinga has been broadened and is now used to describe many different types of colorful paintings. The term is used to provide artistic legitimacy, even if the origins of the artwork are something other than from Tingatinga and his immediate circle.

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More paintings: Tinga Tinga Home      Tinga Tinga Page 2      Tinga Tinga Page 3    TingaTinga Page 4 (page four is all sold out!)    TingaTinga Page 5

If you are interested in purchasing any of our Tinga Tinga paintings, please go to our Purchasing Form

Or, perhaps you would prefer to Make an Offer?

The Tinga Tinga paintings currently in stock are on the Top of this page.