It’s Day 69 and that means tomorrow I would’ve painted 70 paintings! Whew and yay! Today was challenging just because I didn’t feel too creative or in the mood to paint which is a rarity. But I celebrated someone playful and colorful. Please join me in celebrating Edward Tingatinga!
Edward Saidi Tingatinga (1932–1972) was a Tanzanian painter, best known as the founder of the eponymous painting style and school.
Tingatinga was born in 1932 in a village called Namochelia, in the Tunduru District of Ruvuma Region in southern Tanzania, near the border with northern Mozambique. A village by that name no longer exists; it may have ceased to exist in the 1960s as a consequence of the relocation of small villages that was part of the Ujamaa program of President Julius Nyerere. Today’s settlements in that area include Mindu, Nakapanya andMtonya. Many members of Edward Tingatinga’s family (on the mother’s side) still live in those villages; relatives from the father’s side live in Ngapa, about 20 km north of Nakapanya.
Edward Tingatinga was born from a poor family. His mother, Agnes Binti
Ntembo, belonged to the Makua ethnic group and was a Christian, while his father, Saidi Tingatinga, was a Ngindo and a Muslim. This is why the child was given bot a Christian name (Edward) and a Muslim name (Saidi). Because of the matrilinear heritage of the Makua traditional society, Edward Tingatinga should be considered of Makua descent.
As a child, he was mostly cared for by his mother’s family. Eventually, the relationship between Agnes Ntembo and Saidi Tingatinga broke down. Agnes Ntembo had three more sons with two other partners, namely Andrea Gallusi, Simon Mpata and Cesilia Mpata. Simon Mpata, as well as Agnes Mpata (Cesilia’s daughter) would later follow Edward’s footsteps and join the society of painters he would found.
In the 1950s, Edward left his mother and went to work in the plantations of sisal
in Tanga Region of northern Tanzania; later, he was invited by his uncle Salum Mussa Mkayoga (also known as Mzee Lumumba), who worked as a cook of a British officer in Dar es Salaam. Tingatinga found a favour with him and was employed as gardener. At the same time he began experimenting first as a musician and (in 1968) as a painter.
His painting were made using recycled, low-cost materials, such as masonite squares, ceramic fragments, and bicycle paint. His style was naïve, bordering on surrealistic and humorous; most of his subjects were stereotypical African icons, such as wildlife or savannah landscapes.
In 1970 he married Agatha Mataka, who was a Makonde from Mozambique.
Eventually, Tingatinga’s paintings became very popular among European residents and tourists, so that he was able to work full-time as an artist. He later gathered a group of apprentices and followers, that would later organize themselves into the Tingatinga Art Co-operative Society. Some of Tingatinga’s followers in the Society (e.g., January Linda, Adeusi Mandu, Ajaba Adballah Mtalia, Casper Tedo, Simon Mptata and Omari Amonde) were Edward’s or his wife’s relatives, either Makua or Makonde. Of the first generation of Tingatinga students, only Edward’s nephew Omari Amonde is still living.
In 1972 Tingatinga was accidentally killed by a policeman who mistook him for a fugitive. The Tingatinga school survived, and grew in size and relevance. Through Tingatinga’s followers and imitators, the Tingatinga style gradually became the prominent type of tourist-oriented paintings in both Tanzania, Kenya, and a large part of East Africa.
Tingatinga is buried at the Msasani Cemetery in Dar es Salaam.
Read full biography at wikipedia. And read more about him here!
Now I had a VERY difficult time finding actual Tingatinga original paintings. There are tons and tons of artwork called Tingatinga
paintings because it has become a style of artwork. You can just imagine the amount of art out there done in this man’s style. They are all amazing. I decided to do a piece as if I attended the Tingatinga school of art. 😉 I finally found a site with his photo and original paintings here at www.museumsyndicate.com.
Read this wonderful article about the Tingatinga art movement.
I hope you enjoy my piece in honor of Edward Tingatinga. There is so much out there so it will just be another tiny piece done in tribute to this wonderful man. 🙂 Best, Linda See you tomorrow on Day 70!