060_G19_Arena

Global

Arena Arts Right: Normally one to favour flora, this is one of David Mzuguno’s evocative animal paintings. Mzuguno is credited for popularising Tinga Tinga art in China and in parts of Europe. Following his death in 2010, his children, artists themselves, set up the Mzuguno Studio in Mlandizi, some 70 km from Dar es Salaam Below: An example of Noel Kapanda’s less populated paintings. This picture nevertheless demonstrates a level of detail in its leaves, feathers and complementary colours “His paintings are not selling as well as the mass-produced or the aesthetic ones. Still, the commercial aspect is Mr Charinda’s primary aim,” says Augusta. “He hopes to sell, as any other Tinga Tinga painter does.” But there is another side to Tinga Tinga. It is not, as it is often called, entirely an ‘airport art’, reproducing the same designs over and over again in the style of a popularity production line. Tinga Tinga artists are many and diverse, although most must produce Artists have had to cater to their visitors, reproducing designs and subjects that have proven popular in the past in order to secure a living ‘popular’ art for sale first and foremost, and only then focus on more personal projects. Others must maintain a ‘day job’ to support their creative pursuits – after all, the stereotype of the impoverished artist is not particular to the West. And the outcomes of these artists’ work vary greatly, but still incorporate the unifying factors of Tinga Tinga – vibrancy of colour, vivid lines, and a certain something that is wholly and authentically African. Daudi Tingatinga, the only son of Edward Saidi Tingatinga, the style’s namesake, has carried on his father’s legacy. Daudi’s paintings reflect the essence of the Tinga Tinga tradition in their simplicity – splayed poses and blocks of colour – and are particularly reminiscent of his father’s work. Noel Kapanda’s work, on the other hand, is far more intricate. Usually depicting more than a single subject, Kapanda’s paintings show detail in their bird wings, tree leaves and leopard spots, using thinner, fluid curves and delving into the realm of gradients as well as using blocks of unbroken colour. “Kapanda,” states his Inside African Art profile, “is maybe the least-known Tinga Tinga painter in Dar es Salaam, but he should be the best known.” Ally Wasia and David Mzuguno both paint flora, but their styles differ magnificently. Mzuguno’s lines are more heavy handed and partition each element of his work into small and vivid segments. Meanwhile, Wasia’s lines are delicate, relying upon the colours of the paintings for their punch. The Tinga Tinga aesthetic is said to derive from the African tradition of decorating hut walls with drawings of animals and people using natural pigments – a tradition observed particularly in south Tanzania. Developed in the Oyster Bay area of Dar es Salaam in the late 20th century, Tinga Tinga spread to become one of the most widely recognised art styles, not only in Tanzania but also Kenya and surrounding countries. The style is named after its founder, Edward Saidi Tingatinga, who popularised it beyond the continent by selling his paintings to expatriates – but he only got to focus on his art for a handful of years. four 60 l www.global -br ief ing.org th quar ter 2014 global 


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