The Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society

The Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society

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After Edward Tingatinga's tragical death the painters organized themselves as a cooperative, the "Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society" (TACS), with the aim to continue the art of painting in its founder's sense. The Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society was registered on 28th July, 1990. 

Today almost 100 painters work in the cooperative - including a few women. Many regard themselves still as Tingatinga's successors, others experiment with new forms and motives. On the one hand the cooperative operates as a painting school for the Tingatinga style of art, but on the other it promotes the art sales internationally to enable its members to earn their living.

In 1996/1997 the Swiss development association Helvetas launched an extensive sales exhibition which toured through several cities in Switzerland. With the proceeds a building for the cooperative in Dar es Salaam was financed, thus providing the painters with a shelter in the rain seasons. Helvetas also supported the cooperative in management, organizational and marketing issues.

Standing on its own feet since 2007, the objective of the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society is to be independent of external financial and administrative help in the future, as well as to promote the lively Tanzanian culture.

Below are some of our artists: 

Abassy Mbuka

Abasy Mbuka was born in Dar es Salaam in 1975. His mother is from Kondoa District and father from Iringa. Unfortunately his father Asukile Kiando disappeared when Mbuka was still newborn. Nobody knows what happened. When Mbuka was older he continued to look for his father but without success. His father was a journalist in radio Tanzania. In fact the case of Mbuka´s father finished at court lead by his brother Asheli Kiando. Mbuka learned about Tingatinga from Salum Mussa, Mzee Lumumba. The reason was that after Mbuka´s father disappeared the mother stayed with Salum Mussa. But it was not him who taught him, it was Nipela.

Abbasy is currently the chairman of the Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society.

 abbas mbuka

A. Hasani

Hassani Kamale was one of the students of Tedo (cousin of E.S.Tingatinga) in the year of 1973. After being “taught by Tedo” he heads for his independent painting style in “classic” genre. His paintings can be simply recognised due to the birds with a long tail at the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society. Hassani loves painting and his way of art. He wishes to stay painting in future.

Abbasi Rafiki

Abbasi Rafiki  was born in 1974 in Nakapanya village in the southern part of Tanzania. He started to paint in 1990 being promoted by his teacher Mr. Mruta. He is Makua by tribe and now he lives in Mbagala in Dar es Salaam. He had two exhibitions in Canadian Embassy prepared by Mama Edwin. His paintings are based on different animals like Zebra, Giraffe and other like village activities, sunset beaches and African dance. Abbasi is one of the six painters who in 2009/10 worked for Tiger Aspect Productions in Nairobi and made illustrations for the television series Tinga Tinga Tales. The paintings made immediately after his stay in Nairobi are more cartoon-like and so shows the inspiration from the animation work.  Tinga Tinga Tales is a pre-school television series of African animal fables – 52 animated stories illustrated in the original and vibrant Tingatinga style of painting from Tanzania.

Abdallah Chilamboni

Abdallah is one of the most creative artists in the Tinga Tinga movement. It is said that the famous design of the fish in circles was first painted by him. Equally his paintings of crocodiles or frogs are also very unique. In 2011 Abdallah was the Chairman of the Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society.

He is from Tunduru District, southern Tanzania. His father was Makonde, the famous tribe known for its excellent wood carvers and his mother was Makua – the tribe to which most Tinga Tinga artists belong. He completed Primary school in Nakapanya and came to Dar es Salaam in 1988 and started working as a assistant to car serviceman. After one year he left the job and became an apprentice to his uncle Saidi Chilamboni, an established Tinga Tinga painter, following his life-long passion for art. Abdallah has participated in various Tinga Tinga exhibitions in Tanzania as well as in Belgium, France and Germany. He also visited Japan on two occasions. 

Adeus Mandu

Adeus was not Tanzanian but Mozambiquan of Makonde origin. He was born in the town Palma near the Ruvuma river. when he was still young he decided to try his luck in Tanzania and later even in Nairobi, Kenya. They were two of them, Adeus and Mathias Sikapu. (Strangely both Linda and Adeus could not speak portugese) When Adeus went to Nairobi he left his uncle behind in Dar es Salaam. It was sometimes in 1960 to 1970. Then Adeus came back to Dar. Here in Dar they found Tingatinga who later admitted Adeus as his student. There was some relationship between Adeus and Agatha. At least Agatha was born in Mozambic as Adeus. Adeus was a very good seller. He even went out to sell the paintings to other parts of Dar. He used to always sell. Hasani told me that Adeus sometimes showed his bowl and said ”I am hungry”.

Adeus never married and got no children. Adeus passed in 1982 or 1983 from bladder disease. He was buried at the Mwananyamala cemetery. This story was told to me by Mathias Sikapu who is Makonde sculptor, more than 60 years old.

Adams Tikatika

Adamu was born in Tunduru in South Tanzania in 1979 to Makua mother and Mwao father. He set out to Dar es Salaam in age of 20 to learn Tingatinga art from his family members. He was helped by Saidi Chilamboni in Dar es Salaam. The teacher of Adamu was Saidi Omary, the son of Saidi Chilamboni. Adamu is now living in Mikocheni with his wife and one child called Adam. (6 years) . It is maybe interesting to know that Adamu was quite sole and independent student. He started outside the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society before he was accepted. The reason for his entrance to the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society was that he has family members here. He is a great painter mastering details and he is known for his savannah paintings. 

Ajaba Issa and Akilimali Issa

Ajaba Issa was born in the Nakapaya village on 6th June 1984. His sister Aweta took him to Dar es Salaam when he was around 16 years old. His older brother Akilimali taught him to paint in 2002 but it was first in 2003 when he entered the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society. Now there are three brothers who paint in Tanzania. Ajaba Issa and Akilimali Issa who paint in Dar es Salaam and Issa Issa who paints in Zanzibar and uses the artistic name Faras.  Ajaba Issa lives in Mbagala in Dar es Salaam with his wife and two year old child Fatuma.

Becker Wasia

Becker (his real name: Bakari  Wasia) was born in 1973 in Nakapanya village in Ruvuma region in southern high lands of Tanzania. He was trained by Mr. Thabiti Mchisa and began to paint in 1990. He has  painted many  pictures  and his  preference is to paint animals and vegetations.

Mohamed Charinda

Mohamed Wasia Charinda was born in the Nakapanya village in the Ruvuma region in southern Tanzania in the year of 1947. He attended and completed primary school. Charinda’s teacher of painting was Hashim Mruta who was the first generation Tinga Tinga style painter. Charinda started painting in 1975. He usually paints village people in different scenes as well as wild animals. His paintings are sending educational message. Charinda illustrates an old Makua legend about all bad persons as thieves, murders, rapists etc. who will end up as transformed semi-animal devils called mashetani. He was the first painter coming from tingatinga school who changes from masonite boards to textile canvas, which was in 1989. Charinda is married and has six children. His art is very well known throughout the world. He was recently included in the book ANGAZA AFRIKA by Chris Spring, curator at Sainsbury African galleries at the British Museum of London. He exhibited in Switzerland in 1999 and at Dom-Tom in Reunion Island, France.

Mwamedi Chiwaya

Mwamedi Chiwaya was born in 1979 in Dar es Salaam. He is Ngoni by tribe from Songea. Mwamedi Chiwaya is one of the most hardworking and diligent Tinga Tinga painters in Tanzania. He paints day and night, mastering the details minutiously. He devotes his free time to sport activities. After his father, the great painter Rajabu Chiwaya passed away, he was the one to support the large family of 7 brothers and sisters. He paints outside the Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society in Mbagala, part of Dar es Salaam. More painters followed him which led to establishment of "Chiwaya Studio". Charles, Mawazo, Hapela are one of his followers. In 2009 a game called Lead The Meerkats was inspired by his art. In 2010 a painting of his father was sold for $51.070 in Paris.

Gayo Peter

Gayo Peter was born in 1978, February 7, in Dar es Salaam .He is Makua by tribe from Masasi in Tunduru district in Ruvuma region. He started to paint when he was 20 and his teacher was Mr. Saidi Omary and Abbas Mbuka. He was among exhibitors in Shaaban Robert exhibitions. He paints animals, butterflies, fish, African dance, beaches at sunset etc.

Ibrahim Omary

Ibrahim Omary was born in 1979 in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. He is Nyamwezi by tribe which is unusual because most of Tinga Tinga painters belong to Makua tribe from south Tanzania. It was football which brought him close to Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society in 1998. He was hired as a football player to the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society's team.

Ibra started to paint when he was a boy of 17 years old and he learned to paint in Tinga Tinga style from Mr. Saidi  Omary. Unlike most painters, the drawing is not his only job. Occasionally he works as a car driver and cock. He also masters basics of English language since he is one of few painters who studied until form four.

He had an exhibition in National Museum of Tanzania. He likes to paint different animals.

Iddi Issa

Iddi comes from the family of Hashim Bushiri Mruta, a big and recognized Tingatinga painter who passed away 1999. He was not only the grounder of Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society but he has also succeeded to raise sufficient funds in Switzerland for the construction of Tinga Tinga Studio. (The building). Therefore despite his young age of 37 years Iddi is a very important person in the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society. He has been in Mchuruka Village in Tunduru district and he came to Dar es Salaam to look for a job. Then he was introduced to Tingatinga by Rajabu Chiwaya, the father of Mwamedi Chiwaya. Now Iddi is living in Kinondoni with his wife and a newborn child Munira. He likes to use a bicycle as a transport means from and to the Cooperative.

Iddi was the only Tinga Tinga painter to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.

"One day when I was sitting and painting at the Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society when a man suddenly came to me. He was a mzungu and his name was Paul Joynson-Hicks. He asked us  several questions. Finally he told me. You will climb the mountain Kilimanjaro. It was in 1998 in November. We took airplane from Dar es Salaam to Moshi. Next day we went to Horombo. We slept there. The third day we came to Kibo hut which is directly under the top of the mountain. We slept there only 4 hours because we started our final trip to the top at 11 PM. We came to Uhuru hut at 7 AM. But not all of us reached there. Only three out of the 5 people succeeded. When we reached on the top, Paul took out a bottle of beer and started to open it as if it was at the marriage party. He said: “Now we establish officially the brand of Kibo Gold beer.

Issa Thabiti Mchisa

Issa is the brother of the passed painter Hasani Thabiti Mchisa whome we lost during the preparation of this Memory Card Game. There is also one more brother painting at the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society: Thabiti Mchisa. Issa was born in Nakapanya in 1969. The first time he came to Dar es Salaam was when he was called by his sister to do different jobs (not paintings). It was first the second trip to Dar Es Salaam when he started to paint. It was in 1990. His teacher was his brother Thabiti. Issa has used his direct experience from the wilderness in art. He has seen many animals when he helped his father to hunt. He brought to Tingatinga new motives: wild dog, wild pig, hyena, sun sets etc. Many times it is only him who can paint these motives.

Ramadhani Mangula

Mangula Ramadhani was born in Dar es Salaam in 1977 and he is living in Msasani, not far from the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society. He started to paint in 1997. His teacher was Saidi Omary, now the current Chairman of the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society. Mangula has not roots in Nakapanya as many painters, his mother was born in Bagamoyo and father in Lindi. He is single. He is a good football player. In his free time he listens to R&B Music. The painting on right is his typical style.

Rashidi Chilamboni

Rashidi Chilamboni was born in 1975 in the small village in south Tanzania called Nakapanya. His father was Makonde sculptor while mother was Makua. He came to the commercial capital of Tanzania - Dar es Salaam in order to paint. He had already his relatives here - Abdallah, Chilambo and Saidi. Rashidi is master of fish and savannah paintings. Though he never visited any national park, he saw animals roaming free around his village Nakapanya. He spotted leopard several times too. He says that it is the source of inspiration to his savannah paintings. Some of his paintings were published such as in the cover of book "Elfenbens Hjärta" (Ebony´s Heart).

Mkumba Steven

Mkumba Steven is the only painter in the Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society who is of Makonde tribe, not of Makua tribe like most of the painters. Makonde people are known for their great wood sculptures made of the black ebony tree. He became apprentice to the late Mzee Salum Mussa “Lumumba” and after three years of apprenticeship he started to paint independently.Mkumba has his own distinctive Tinga Tinga style, but yet not so easy to spot by a layman. Some of his paintings depict violent scenes both in the animal and human "kingdom". One of his paintings was rejected by 2010 Fine Art company which licensed the images to FIFA World Cup 2010 (TM) because it showed the police beating people. Mkumba is definitely an artist who projects his soul into his art! Currently Mkumba takes care about the economy of Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society. He participated in Tingatinga exhibitions at the National Museum of Dar es Salaam i 1995 and 1996.

Zena Aly

Zena Aly was born in 1982 in Kilosa, Morogoro region. But her parents come from Songea and she is Ngindo by tribe. She started to paint in 2003. Her teacher was Mussa Wasia, her husband, and Daudi Tingatinga, son of Edward Saidi Tingatinga, who started the tingatinga style paintings. It is no coincidence, because her sister married Daudi Tingatinga. (Unfortunately the wife of D.Tingatinga passed away). She married Mussa Wasia in 2004 and they have one child, Zachia Mussa. After the wife of Daudi Tingatinga died, they provided home to his children. They take care about 2 the grandchildren of Edward Saidi Tingatinga.

 The Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society launched its ecommerce store offering free shipping worldwide. See the home page here.

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