What did they say about Tinga Tinga?

Benjamin Mkapa
Benjamin Mkapa,
the former president of


Deo Kafwa
Deo Kafwa, The former marketing manager of the Cultural House


Yves Goscinny
Yves Goscinny, Art Critics


Pascal Zachary, the former senior writer for The Wall Street Journal

"Tingatinga paintings have grown to become world famous and a hallmark of indigigenous Tanzanian art of which we are most proud. Unfortunately, very few people abroad have seen original Tingatinga paintings, the market beeing full reproductions and immitations". By Benjamin William Mpaka, The previous President of the United Republic of Tanzania (source: Christine Hatz, Tingatinga, 1996)

"Tinga Tinga art existed for a long time, as can be seen from the ancient rock-drawings in certain regions of Tanzania. Also wall-painting, that is decoration of house-walls with different shades of clay - red, blak and white - has long been practised in the southern and central regions. These pictures show mostly animals and birds, sometimes also human figures" By Deo Kafwa, previous Marketing Manager of Nyumba ya Sanaa (source: Christine Hatz, Tingatinga, 1996)

"It is artists way of survival. A survival. But what they sell is so much more than the tourists can put into their walls. They sell their souls, they sell their thoughts. They sell their life, their hardship. They sell food, they sell because it is the only way". By Doreen Mandawa, a local expatriot artist

"I have discovered that many of the images are mass-produced, however, those particular would be the ones the artists knew they could sell to all kind of tourists. On the other hand, they also always seem to be working on the other paintings, somehow more personal. For the artists to have enough money to be able to work on the more personalised paintings they need to produce the ones that they "know by heart" so as to make a living." By Pernille Nessje, researcher

"Art very much exists in Tanzania, but has been subdued; with no places to exhibit, the artists have simply gone underground and built around them a survival network that will allow them to reach the better season...." By Yves Goscinny. An art critics from Belgium who lived in Tanzania for more than 10 years

"In Europe, art has been growing very abstract to an extent that some art lovers feel that it has become a monologue- an artist expressions that makes little sense.
When the same art lovers arrive in Africa, they found real honesty; artists telling deep stories that easily depict their lives while at the same time probing the issues of life." By Mwenda wa Micheni, Africa Review

"Probably the best object I brought home from the trip to Kenya was a single painting by a Tanzanian named Sey Rashid Hussein who paints crowded city scenes in a capacious style called Tingatinga, after a self-taught painter in Tanzania of the same name." By Pascal Zachary (source: http://africaworksgpz.com/2009/10/18/tingatinga-the-birth-of-an-african-art-movement/)

Some facts about Tinga Tinga

  • Name of art: Tinga Tinga or Tingatinga

  • Location: Tanzania, East Africa

  • Estimated number of painters: ca 300

  • Started: 1968

  • Founder: Edward Saidi Tingatinga (ca 1936 - 1972, born in Mindu in south Tanzania)

  • Teqniques: Mostly enamel colours on canvas or cealing board

  • Derivative Products: T-shirts, pencils, plates and others

  • Origin: wall paintings in south Tanzania and northern Mozambique

  • Institutions: Tingatinga Arts Co-operative Society and Tingatinga Arts Promotional Society

  • Number of Exhibtions: Hundreds of exhibitions were organized. There are ca 5-10 exhibitions always running at the same time!

  • Supporting organisations: HELVETAS (Switzerland)

  • Most popular in: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Japan

  • Tinga Tinga Projects: FIFA - official art collection, Walt Disney - animated films Tinga Tinga Tales, African Art Product - Memo Card Game, HEYE - calendars and puzzles

  • Most Expensive Painting: over €37.000 sold at auction house in Paris in October 2010, Rajabu Chiwaya, Tingatinga Cooperative TACS

  • New styles developed by: George Lilanga, John Kilaka, Omari Amonde, Abdul Mkura, Mohamed Charinda, David Mzuguno, Sauyki Matindiko

  • The largest image: Wall painting in Copenhagen, Denmark (ca 5 floors high building)

  • The oldest painter: Saidi Chilamboni, over 70 years old (he personally met E.S.Tingatinga)

  • The greatest scholars: Jesper Kirknaes (Denmark), Merit Teisen (Denmark), Yves Goscinny (Belgium), Hanne Thorup (Demark), Christine Hatz (Switzerland) , Felix Lorenz (Germany) and me off course!

  • Informative Websites: www.tingatinga.org, www.afrum.com

  • Books: See bibliography

  • Tinga Tinga women: ca 10 (out of hundreds painters)

  • Typical themes: Animals. Very popular is leopard, giraffe and birds. Cities and villages are also depicted

read more about Tinga Tinga on www.tingatinga.org and www.afrum.com.

I am welcoming any feedback in order to revise the facts about Tinga Tinga, write me to daniel@afrum.com