Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Tingatinga School | Tanzania

I found this website and thought I best bring it to your attention.


The site has a wonderful Collection of Tanzanian artwork from a school of art, now known as the Tingatinga School. This is an important development in the art of Tanzania.

The site has developed an Internet Exhibition that is not only informative but really worth a look.

The Tingatinga School
Edward Saidi Tingatinga - (1932-1972) He was the origin of the naive style of painting that later take his name. Tingatinga started in 1968, and although his carrer was ended prematurely in 1972, his style inspired his five students and his followers to establish the Tingatinga school of painters that continues to florish today. This Tingatinga movement constitutes a genuine form of contemporary art, original to Tanzania.

Tingatinga short lived as an artist (1968-72) but he triggered the emergence of a growing number of Tanzanian youngsters who claimed this style to be theirs and further developed it to become what is now known as the Tingatinga School of painting, a unique form of popular art genuine to Tanzania.

Today, no one dares to paint like Tingatinga anymore and there are a few signs left in present time paintings subsisting from E. S. Tingatinga's iconography.

The Tingatinga way of painting that has been entrusted to the younger generations of painters, has been percolating during the past thirty years, through the Tingatinga pyramid of know-how transfer, from teacher to student, and so on.

In this process, the initial input of E. S. Tingatinga at the very top of the pyramid has been diluted, level after level, but it has also been blending at each new stage by the timely injection of the new artists' innovations or improvements of different sorts.

Ultimately, what you see nowadays as the Tingatinga style of painting truly represents the time-matured chain-result of a popular school of art, of a popular art movement articulated on the old-fashioned, traditional way of master-to-apprentice transmission of knowledge.

Tingatinga's stroke of genius lay in the fact that he started to paint in an environment where popular painting was non-existing and fine arts painting was minimal. No matter how simplistic his renderings of wildlife might have looked, they were the spontaneous and sincere expression of an original character.

His determination radiated confidence in what he had started and became inspirational for his entourage.

As of today, the Tingatinga School of Painting has the form of a long and wide constellation of artists, with a higher density in the Dar-es-Salaam area but with patches of stars in Arusha and Zanzibar, and with a few scattered and isolated stars around the rest of the country. Within that constellation, all stars shine, but some are more brilliant than others.

Source: "Tingatinga - the popular paintings from Tanzania" - Y. Goscinny


sokari said...

an excellent and much needed blog covering african art. well done

African Contemporary said...

I agree. Congratulations !

sam said...

i am myself an artist in Tanzania and I've for a longtime wanted to learn The Tinga-tinga style of painting but failed to locate the academy...would anyone please assist me in locating this academy...Regards Jowi