tingatinga paintings

The history of Tingatinga African Paintings


First of all, this was the name of a person and in Islamic families in Tanzania, the new born child is given one name, which is then followed by father’s name and finally the grandfather’s name.

tingatinga paintings


Hence the full name is Edward (personal name) Saidi (father’s name) Tingatinga (grandfather’s name). Edward was born in the settlement of Mindu, and if looked in the road map of Tanzania it is not found, in fact there is not much left of this settlement itself and the house where he was born is now completely grounded. Mindu was with its own missionary school and dispensary, the settlement has disintegrated with the departure of young generation and is now left with very few old people. Edward attended Mindu Mission Primary School from Standard 1 to standard 4.

tingatinga arts cooperative society

In those days most of parents of the makua parents used to send their children to school up to the exam of standard four. If failing or economic condition would not allow it, children would stay at homes and help their families for domestic tasks and farming. And so did Edward until 1957; his mother had died four years ago. When Edward reached 25 years old he tried his chance at Tanga region and worked there on one of the sisal plantation estates. Being the big brother, naturally he became the bread provider for his siblings and soon as he had settled in Tanga, he send for them to join him.

tingatinga art

In 1959, Edward marked his first move to the economic capital of Tanzania and finds himself staying at his cousin called Salum Mussa, living at Msasani resident Area. At the very same place he started working as gardener. In 1961 as Tanganyika got its independence, things start to change, colonial rule ended and the process of building a new nation started, mobilizing all human resources available. The industrious Edward could not feel contended with the job of a gardener, in 1968 he got hired as ward attendant at Muhimbili Hospital in Dar es salaam paid 75 shilings which was better than the one he earned as a gardener. In 1967 Edward got married to Agatha Mataka at St. Peter’s church and soon they had a son, Daudi born of July 15, 1966.

Now Edward is married, has a government job, he stated doing the first of his paintings which he intended to sell on the streets, while his activity as a painter becomes more successful, Edward Saidi Tingatinga involved more and more of his relatives, first to help him prepare the materials he needed but also to bring his finished paintings to the sale point, he also allowed them to do like him and produce their own paintings. In the meantime, as his paintings seem to meet the needs of a receptive market, Edward Saidi Tingatinga progressively accept to have a couple of his jobless relatives to integrate the group, they are his cousins Kaspar Henrick Tedo and Ajaba Abdallah the son of another cousin, these three students were close to Tingatinga as they were the member of the same tribe, the Makua.

Edward had another family from the Makonde tribe where he had found his wife. He took in his brother in-law from the makonde tribe, January John Linda and ADEUSI Mandu Mmatambwe (NB: when Tingatinga died, his family fell apart , Adeusi was the only one to help the stranded Agatha and her two children). These three relatives (Mpata, Tedo and Ajaba) and the two friends from Makonde (Linda and Adeusi) will constitute the first generation of of Tingatinga painters.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Size chart

Centimeters (CM)

Inches (IN)

50CM x 40CM

19 11/16 in X 15 3/4 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