It started with paintings of a single animal like a hyena, a lion and others in 1968. Today few painters paint in this "old" style. But there are exceptions like Tinga Tinga´s son Daudi Tinga Tinga. Other painters who use to paint only one animal is Abdul Mkura and Amonde Omary. Both of them belong to the first generation of Tinga Tinga painters. Others occasionally taking up this style are Becker Wasia, Saidi Chilamboni, Mwamedi Chiwaya and more. (See down paintings of Saidi and Tinga Tinga)
Single girafe is a new motive but inspired by the old days. It is represented by Shabani Mkarekwa (Photo left down) and Jabili Masoudi. Also down right you see the style of Amonde Omari.
Then the guys (and a few girls too) came with the idea to add some flowers here and some birds there. Nothing for the old men, but the young painters enjoyed. They got almost obsessed and to finish one Tinga Tinga painting could take up weeks! The young masters are Rubuni Rashidi, Saidi Omary, Ibrahim Omary, Zuberi Daimu and others. There is not clear line so occasionally if Mwamedi Chiwaya gets tired of painting the tenth simba (lion) he may do something more complicated also. (Down are paintings of Rubuni and A. Hasani)
I think the best painters of this complicated style is Mwamedi Chiwaya (Photo down), Iddi, Daimu Zuberi and Saidi Omari.
Saidi Omary is a young painter but he has already pupils. He keeps always a high quality of paintings. He has always good humor and he is never in a hurry. So his paintings are very good. He tries to be creative also but it is difficult in Tinga Tinga collective. Enjoy paintings of S.Omary!
It feels like the Tinga Tinga is a big mess. But if you look closely, only few animals are depicted. And some painters got specialized in some animals. So Gayo Peter, Mtapwata and even Kolumbo paint butterflies - ok not really animals! But the greatest butterfly master is Kambili. He doesn´t paint anything else, it seems. . Down you can see buterflies of Gayo and Chiwaya.
Mbwana Sudi is known for blue fishes and Rubuni Rashidi surprised me with red fishes.
Yuba Mawazo and Salum Zaburi likes to paint birds in different ways. But don´t take it for granted, the painters may switch from day to day, yap. So here you see paintings of Mwamedi Chiwaya and Saidi Omari.
In "people" subcategory there are villages, political paintings, hospitals etc. Sometimes very serious things...So let´s take it step by step! The traditional village life is represented by Noel Kapanda, Steven Mkumba, Kalembo Fidelis (see down) and others
And here is Mitole Saidi and Steven Mkumba, both well established painters.
The master of political paintings is Mohamed Charinda and the hospitals are painted best by Maurus Malikita.
And the city life is represented by Katengo, Kalembo, Anthony Jonas, Mr. Sey (Down Anthony Jonas)
Have you ever heard about shetanis? Shetanis are kind of devils in african mythology. Many people still believe in these Shetanis and painters try to get some protection (it seems) by painting these Shetanis. The master of Shetani paintings was George Lilanga. Lilanga is among ten most famous in the world. His paintings were exhibited at Pompidou in Paris and Metropolitan in New York. It showed up that not all by Lilanga signed paintings were painted by George Lilanga. I have set up a website for that research - www.lilanga.org
George Lilanga never painted in Tinga Tinga collective, he painted in Cultural House but he had very good friends among Tinga Tinga colective. And he gave permission to Mchisa Thabiti to paint like him. And Mchisa gave permission to Jabili Masoudi, it is how the extended family works. Mchisa still paints in this style and you will find many such paintings in Dar es Salaam.
Sayuki Matindiko found his own style though inspired by George Lilanga. Not wonder - Sayuki Matindiko and Lilanga are from the same tribe.
They are several hundred Tinga Tinga painters in Tanzania now. Maybe one hundred of them are really good. But the point here is that they are not the same. All have a distinctive style, a personal touch. And some are very different. It is case of David Mzuguno.
Some painters broke away from the traditional Tinga Tinga stream. Some of them are John Kilaka and Damian Msagula. But John Kilaka si not only a painter, he is a story teller and an illustrator. See his own website - www.kilaka.com
Now if some artists break, don´t they create a new Tinga Tinga school? The answer is yes. One of most prominent is the Makumbusho branch. Look at Nangida Masawe and Emanuel Jeremiah!
But mostly these branches don´t have a strong leader so they experiment, like Ally Omary, Job Luandala, Lewis Steven. They are strong personalities but don´t work together. They may paint under same cealing in Oysterbay but they paint extremly differently. Here you see Lewis
Lastly let me show you something personal. It is a Tinga Tinga painting of Peter Martin. Peter Martin lived with Beatrice and three children in Mikocheni, part of Dar es Salaam. First after 14 years they married. Unfortunately, one year after the marriage Peter Martin passed away. But he knew he would die. So before it happened he painted a Tinga Tinga painting as a testament for future. It tells us that Tinga Tinga paintings are deeply connected with the lives of painters. It tells us that we should look deeper beyond the colors, birds and flowers to find true story about Africa, its artists and ....us.
The painting paid his own burial. When I found the widow Beatrice Peter I found that she had a newborn child - Steven. I hope that when Steven grows up, the whole world will know about Tinga Tinga.
Tinga Tinga Story
It all started in 1968, almost by an accident. Edward Saidi Tinga Tinga just painted the first painting and it sold. So he painted another one etc. Then other relatives joined. Today, after 40 years we have several hundred artists in Tanzania, Kenya and other countries. The "original" family is still here and it is very big. Maybe 100 painters, maybe 200 painter, maybe more. They are all Makua tribe, speaking Makua, having Makua traditions. (by the way the previous president of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa is also a Makua). The Makua are related to Makonde, which are already known for the Makonde carvings. So, will the Makua be known for Tinga Tinga? Interestingly, nobody has yet linked the Tinga Tinga to Makua as we did with the carvings!
This big stone is ca 15 km far from the villages of Tinga Tinga painters
The Tinga Tinga painters come from four villages in South Tanzania. Nakapanya village is the biggest one. Many painters were born there. They still go frequently back to visit there families, so you will always meet a Tinga Tinga friend there! But they don´t paint there.
This is Nakapanya village painted in Celtel colours - the mobil service provider.
This is me (Daniel Augusta) on the Tinga Tinga motorcycle
Be aware that there is a lot of Tinga Tinga scrap, rubish (takataka in Kiswahili). It is just because anybody can be a Tinga Tinga painter providing you find some spot in town with many tourists. But the "real", "original" Tinga Tinga painters are found in Oysterbay in Morogoro Stores in Dar es Salaam (It has nothing to do with Morogoro city). They call themselves The Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society (TACS). In fact they have branches in Slipway, Zanzibar and other places.
Good (left) and less good (right) Tinga Tinga paintings
In the Tinga Tinga Cooperative you can meet Tinga Tinga´s son, you can meet Saidi Chilamboni, Mohamed Charinda, Hasani and others who have all started this big big art movement. There you can meet artists who became recognized internationally. It is hard to become a member here. It helps if you are Makua.
Me and Tinga Tinga´s son Daudi Tinga Tinga in the Tinga Tinga Cooperative
Tinga Tinga Cooperative is a big extended family, a big group of relatives. They found the art style which they live on until now. This group has been working and functioning without much interference from NGO´s, sponsors and other development institutions. It is true that Swiss HELVETAS built the house and helped much but Tinga Tinga Cooperative lives its own life. It will survive us and all global economic crises.
The development through business seems a best model as these Moshi guys demonstrates on the picture. Actually, they just bought the car and their first trip was to Morogoro Stores to buy Tinga Tinga paintings.