TINGA TINGA ART IN TANZANIA

By Devaa Ramalingam – Art in Tanzania intern

The Tinga Tinga Art is considered as an art that has historical value. It is named after the Edward Said Tingatinga who copied and reinvented the art in 1968. Back then he used Masonite and bicycle paint to make the art. Through which he attracted admirers of his work from all over the world which has now become tourist attractions for Tanzania.

Tinga Tinga art is now being made in a village in Dar es Salaam. After the demise of Edward Tingatinga in 1972 there were imitators who started making Tinga Tinga art and kept the art alive. In 1990 they have formed a Tinga Tinga co-operative society. Abdul Amonde Mkura is the senior painter and head of this society as of now. He moved to Dar es Salaam in 1974 and fell in love with the art as he learnt it. 

As many people might know that Africa is a country which is rich in its fauna category and there are lots of forests and desserts. It is one of the countries that is still 100% natural in many parts of it unlike all the other countries which are artificial, and man-made. Tinga Tinga art is renowned for its surrealistic and native style. There are lots of admirers of this art and even there are lots of collectors of this art. 

Tinga Tinga paintings are all about imagination. Over the years these paintings have had a number of altercations, as these paintings were done on boards initially and changed to fabric material as customers found board heavy to carry. In the early stages in the village, they used to look at animals in real life and draw them from imagination now they also use the modern way of painting like sketching it first and then painting on it.

The head the Society said in an interview that he likes to paint about various subjects from his village and from his past life experiences. But his all-time favorite is drawing elephants. He has painted elephants for over 20 years. The elephants are bigger and stronger than any other animal which has a huge significance he believes. These artists of this village are astonished by the significance and the nature of animals, and they respect them. These paintings are of animal from which these people get inspiration and want others to also get it. 

These paintings have evolved to the fact that the youngsters of this society make digital art based on Tinga Tinga and also they have created cartoon series with these art. Tinga Tinga is so highly respected among the Tanzanian people as it’s a curriculum in schools. 

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