Tingatinga, the Whimsical Art of Tanzania
It’s impossible to visit Tanzania and not notice the colorful, cartoon-like paintings known as Tingatinga. The painting style was created in the 1960s by Edward Saidi Tingatinga, a self-taught artist from a rural region of Tanzania. Today, the art has become a national symbol and can be found in hotels, galleries and street markets across the country. Unfortunately, Tingatinga never saw his paintings’ far-reaching success. He was shot and killed by local police in 1972 in a case of mistaken identity.
Where to buy Tingatinga paintings in Dar es Salaam
Paintings can be found throughout Dar es Salaam but pieces purchased from the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society (TACS) are considered the most authentic. (The original followers of E.S. Tingatinga founded the society and have been training painters in the style ever since.) TACS is located on a small, dead-end street next to Shrijees Supermarket on Haile Selassie Road (Msasani Peninsula). A number of other workshops are also on this street, so it’s best to peruse all your options before you buy. Prices are negotiable and a few greetings in Kiswahili will help. Custom pieces can typically be made within a couple of days.