The Use of Acrylic in African Paintings

The Use of Acrylic in African Paintings

October 03, 2023


African art has always been a source of fascination and inspiration for art enthusiasts worldwide. From the intricate beadwork of the Maasai tribe to the iconic masks of West Africa, the continent's artistic heritage is rich and diverse. One aspect that has gained prominence in recent years is the use of acrylic paints in African paintings. In this blog post, we'll explore why acrylic paints have become a popular medium for African artists and how they contribute to the vibrancy and appeal of African art.

  1. Versatility and Flexibility

One of the primary reasons acrylic paints have found favor among African artists is their versatility. Acrylics can be used on a wide range of surfaces, from canvas and wood to fabric and even paper. This flexibility allows African artists to express their creativity without being limited by the choice of materials.

  1. Fast Drying Time

Acrylic paints are known for their quick drying time, which can be a significant advantage for artists working in diverse climates across the African continent. The fast drying time allows artists to layer colors, make corrections, and complete their artworks more efficiently. In places where humidity and temperature can vary greatly, this characteristic of acrylics ensures that the artists' vision remains intact.

  1. Vibrant Colors

African art is renowned for its bold and vibrant use of colors, and acrylic paints excel in this regard. These paints offer a wide spectrum of hues that can be easily mixed and diluted to achieve the desired shade. The intense pigmentation of acrylics allows artists to capture the vivid and expressive qualities often associated with African art.

  1. Durability

African art often has a functional aspect, serving as both aesthetic and utilitarian objects. Acrylic paints are known for their durability, making them an ideal choice for artworks that may be subjected to wear and tear. Whether used to create sculptures, masks, or textiles, acrylic paints can withstand the test of time and maintain their visual appeal.

  1. Accessibility

Acrylic paints are more accessible and affordable for many African artists compared to other traditional materials like oil paints. This accessibility empowers emerging artists and allows them to experiment and hone their craft without the financial constraints often associated with art production.

  1. Environmental Considerations

Acrylic paints have a relatively low environmental impact compared to some other mediums. They are water-based and non-toxic, which aligns with sustainability principles. In a world increasingly focused on environmental awareness, acrylics provide African artists with a responsible choice for their creative endeavors.

  1. Adaptability to Different Art Forms

African art is incredibly diverse, encompassing a wide range of artistic expressions, from paintings and sculptures to textiles and pottery. Acrylic paints are highly adaptable to these various art forms, allowing artists to seamlessly transition between different mediums and experiment with their creative vision. This adaptability encourages a cross-pollination of ideas and techniques within the African art community.

  1. Ease of Transportation and Storage

African artists often participate in exhibitions and art shows, both locally and internationally. Acrylic paints are relatively easy to transport and store, as they do not require special handling or extensive preparation. This practicality is especially valuable for artists who need to showcase their work in different settings, ensuring that their creations remain in pristine condition during transit.

  1. Resistance to Fading

African art often incorporates elements of storytelling and cultural heritage. Acrylic paints are known for their resistance to fading, ensuring that the vivid colors and narratives within these artworks remain vibrant and intact over time. This quality is crucial for preserving the historical and cultural significance embedded in African art.

  1. Compatibility with Mixed Media

Many African artists choose to incorporate various materials and techniques into their works, such as collage, fabric, or found objects. Acrylic paints seamlessly complement these mixed media approaches, allowing artists to combine different elements while maintaining the cohesion and integrity of their art.

  1. Support for Artistic Innovation

Acrylic paints have spurred innovation within African art by enabling artists to experiment with new styles and techniques. The adaptability of acrylics to innovative approaches like abstract art or hyperrealism has pushed the boundaries of traditional African artistic norms, creating a dynamic fusion of old and new.

  1. Facilitation of Art Education

Institutions and art schools across Africa often use acrylic paints in their curricula. The ease of use and accessibility of acrylic paints makes them an ideal medium for art education, empowering future generations of African artists to explore their creative potential and carry on the legacy of African art.


Acrylic paints have emerged as a favored medium for African artists due to their versatility, quick drying time, vibrant colors, durability, accessibility, and environmental considerations. These characteristics allow artists to not only preserve the rich traditions of African art but also explore new frontiers of creativity.

As African art continues to evolve and gain recognition on the global stage, the use of acrylic paints serves as a testament to the adaptability and ingenuity of African artists. These vibrant paintings reflect the spirit, culture, and resilience of a continent that has inspired the world for centuries.

The adoption of acrylic paints in African art is a testament to their adaptability, practicality, and ability to enhance artistic expression across the continent. African artists continue to push the boundaries of creativity, preserving their cultural heritage while embracing innovation. Acrylic paints have become an essential tool in this artistic journey, allowing African art to thrive and inspire both locally and globally. As the world's fascination with African art grows, acrylic paints will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping its future.

At TingaTinga Art, we invite you to explore and immerse yourself in the world of African art through our curated collection, available exclusively on our website, Our dedicated artists and craftsmen pour their passion and talent into creating these magnificent artworks, which are crafted using a harmonious blend of both oil and acrylic paints.

Our commitment to showcasing the beauty of African art is evident in each piece we offer. These paintings reflect not only the rich cultural heritage of Africa but also the diverse and colorful stories that unfold on each canvas.

Oil paints, known for their depth, texture, and timeless appeal, lend a sense of tradition and depth to our artworks. Their slow-drying nature allows our artists to meticulously layer and blend colors, resulting in intricate and nuanced masterpieces that resonate with viewers.

On the other hand, acrylic paints infuse our paintings with vibrancy and energy. Their quick-drying properties enable our artists to capture the spirit of their subjects with immediacy and precision. The acrylic medium empowers our artists to experiment with bold colors and expressive techniques, infusing each artwork with a contemporary edge.

At TingaTinga Art, we believe that the fusion of oil and acrylic paints in our African paintings represents a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. It speaks to the ever-evolving nature of African art, where heritage and innovation come together to create something truly unique.

Whether you are an art enthusiast, a collector, or someone looking to adorn their living space with a touch of African elegance, we invite you to browse our collection. Each painting on is a testament to the talent and creativity of African artists. We hope that our artworks will not only adorn your walls but also resonate with your heart, as they have the power to evoke emotions, spark conversations, and transport you to the captivating world of African artistry

Size Guide

Centimeters (CM)

Inches (IN)

50CM x 40CM

19 11/16 in X 15 3/4 in

50CM x 50CM

19 11/16 in X 19 11/16 in

60CM x 60CM

23 5/8 in X 23 5/8 in

70CM x 50CM

27 9/16 in X 19 11/16 in

80CM x 60CM

31 1/2 in X 23 5/8 in

100CM x 80CM

39 3/8 in X 31 1/2 in

140CM x 110CM

55 1/8 in X 43 5/16 in