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Edward Saidi TINGATINGA.

Saidi Tingatinga was born in 1932 in a village close to the border of Mozambique. He could not study very far because of unfavourable family circumstances.

In 1955, he left his village to come to Dar-es-Salaam, where he was employed as a gardener, thanks to a cousin. After 6 years, when his employer left Tanzania, Tingatinga sold fruit and vegetables around Oyster Bay. He started doing embroidery work on pillow cases, table clothes and bed covers. He was also learning to weave mats and baskets.

In 1968, borrowing to a friend brushes and colors, he began to paint on square hardboards. He was working that time in the medical center of Muhimbili, in Dar-es-Salaam.

Two years later, he left his job to live through his painting only and took several young relatives as his apprentices. His teaching was short. In 1972, Tingatinga met his untimely and tragic death : he was in a car speeding away from a police patrol car. The police had mistaken it for a get-away car used by robbers.They fire several shots, one bullet got Tingatinga. He died on his way to the hospital. His students continued to paint but stayed in the shadow until the day they created their first association, " Tingatinga Partnership " . In 1990, they registred themselves as the " Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Ltd " and attracted more customers, particularly foreign tourists.

Until 1996, the artists were working under no shelter and were faced with unfavourable working conditions. Life became hard especially during rain and wind season. They were sometimes even unable to buy raw materials because of poor business returns. The sale of 600 paintings after an exhibition in Switzerland served to raise funds for the construction of an art gallery, in Morogoro Stores. Actually, about 50 artists are working in that place and many people travelling in Dar-es-Salaam are coming to visit their cooperative.

Tingatinga left his name to these typical tanzanian pictures, in the same time naive, decorative and bringing messages.

Edward Saidi Tingatinga.

Nice work of the tanzanian artist Boblee.


© 2003 Nameloksafaris, Christopher KIVUYO.