061_G19_Arena

Global

Having had no formal art training, Tingatinga painted out of passion in his spare hours, while working where he could during the day to support his wife and two children. In 1961 Tanzania’s independence swept in a tide of artists, mostly from Zaire, who peddled inexpensive paintings along Dar es Salaam’s main streets. Tingatinga, then between short bursts of employment, saw his neglected passion for the art rekindle. Borrowing household paint and a crude brush from a friend, he conducted his first picture on a makeshift canvas of rough ceiling board and went on to display it outside the Morogoro Stores in the centre of the city. The painting brought him ten shillings and the promise of a new career. From then on, Tingatinga poured as much time as he could into his calling, while maintaining a nursing job at Muhimbili Hospital. In 1971 Tanzania’s National Arts Council displayed his work at two major exhibitions, resulting in a contract that supplied him with materials and took over the sale of his work. But Tingatinga’s artistic career would last only a few short years. In 1972, at the age of 40, Tingatinga was shot and killed by a police officer who mistook him for a fugitive. He left behind six students – Simon Mpata, January Linda, Adeus Matambwe, Kasper Henric Tedo, Abdallah Ajaba and Omari Amonde – who went on to form the Tinga Tinga Partnership. Under the umbrella of the Tinga Tinga Partnership the work of the artists expanded and in 1990 it was time to form a bigger organisation – the Tinga Tinga Arts Co-operative Society. Today the society has more than 50 active members, most of Arena Arts Left: Daudi Tingatinga’s style is highly reminiscent of his father’s work, the original Tinga Tinga Below: More delicate than the work of many of his contemporaries, Ally Wasia’s paintings use thin lineart, gentle gradients and speckles of colour to create an overall lighter effect than one would expect of traditional Tinga Tinga All images are copyrighted to the respective artist. Further artwork can be found and purchased from: www.TingaTingaStudio.com them related in some way to Tingatinga, with each member contributing 15 per cent of their sales to the co-operative to cover basic expenses. The artists of the co-operative, based at the Morogoro Stores of Dar es Salaam, are also helping Tinga Tinga reach a new generation through their work with Kenya-based Tiger Aspect Productions. Tinga Tinga Tales is a children’s show that incorporates the art style with African creation stories, such as ‘Why Elephant Has a Trunk’ and ‘Why Vulture is Bald’, and has seen an excellent reception worldwide by young and old alike. It is difficult to get to the root of Tinga Tinga’s popularity – perhaps because its appeal has to be felt rather than written down on paper. There is just something intrinsically likeable about the style’s bold contours, its unabashed colours and simplicity – something native to the sun and sound of Africa. “I love Tinga Tinga because of its colours, naïve genre and close affinity to traditional African culture. It was not influenced much by the Western school of art,” says Augusta. “But Tinga Tinga is also a lifestyle for me. The art is much more than just paintings. The art is the people behind it, experiences, trips, visits and much more.” He laughs: “Probably if Tinga Tinga was situated in UK, I wouldn’t be interested. It would be too rainy for me.” With special thanks to Daniel Augusta and TANART for supplying the images reproduced here: www.TingaTingaStudio.com www.global global four th quar ter 2014 -br ief ing.org l 61


Global
To see the actual publication please follow the link above