Edward Saidi Tingatinga (Tanzanian, 1932-1972)
Untitled (Elephant), 1971
Signed ‘ES Tingatinga’ (lower left)
Enamel paint on board
63 x 64 cm
Sold Ksh 763,100
Provenance: private collection of the Emerson Foundation, Zanzibar
Edward Saidi Tingatinga’s art career lasted only four years from 1968-72; cut tragically short when he was shot dead at the age of 40. His impact on Tanzanian art has been profound and his legacy continues to build momentum.
The artist began practising art out of necessity to make ends meet, finding that he could use enamel bicycle paint on ceiling board and sell his work inexpensively. He displayed these pieces in stores across Dar es Salaam and many expatriates, who lived in the area, noticed his unique and unusual style of painting and began collecting. As his success grew, Tingatinga hired and trained close friends and family: Simon Mpata, Adeusi Mandu, Tedo Kaspar Hendrick, Abdalla Ajaba, Hashimu Bushiri Mruta, Januari Linda and Omary Adballah Amonde firstly helping him to prepare boards, and later guiding them to make their own paintings. Together with Tingatinga these seven are the original Tingatinga artists.
The Tingatinga style has now become a large industry in Tanzania, with high demand from local and international buyers, but few E.S. Tingatinga’s come on the market.
This work is an example of Tingatinga’s primary early motifs of the ‘big five’ solitary African animals – the lion, elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus and antelope.