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  • Alison Vernon

Tingatinga and Tanzania

I visited Tanzania in October, 2019. What a beautiful country! The people, animals, and landscape of Tanzania have settled in my imagination and I have begun painting some of the images inspired by this beautiful country.

In this post, I want to talk a bit about Tingatinga, the art that is most often associated with Tanzania.


Edward Saidi Tingatinga (1932 - 1972) began painting in 1968 to supplement his income. He used readily available materials like ceiling tiles and bicycle paint to portray the wildlife of Tanzania. His style was primitive and expressive, and his paintings became wildly popular. He took on six apprentices to learn his painting style. Tingatinga was tragically shot in 1972 in a case of

mistaken identity. His six apprentices continued in his tradition and formed what has become known as the Tingatinga School. This school continues today, with new artists and evolving styles.


The three paintings shown here were hanging in our hotel in Zanzibar. The one above is by Tingatinga himself, the next two are by his original apprentices.




We also visited the Tingatinga Cooperative School in Dar es Salaam (shown here) and saw the tradition as it has continued to thrive and evolve.


Although my African paintings don't really reflect the Tingatinga style, I do claim it as an influence. Like many of my influences, it is simple and ornate at the same time.


If you would like to know more about Tingatinga, click here.



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© 2020 Alison Pratt Vernon

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