Edward Saidi Tingatinga (Tanzanian, 1932–1972)

signed ‘E.S.TINGATINGA’ (lower centre)
Enamel paint on board
61.5 x 60.5cm,
Ksh 180,000–250,000
US$ 2,045–2,850
Sold Ksh 446,120

Provenance: Private Collection acquired before 1998 from George Lilanga’s nephew

Tingatinga’s art career lasted only four short years from 1968–72, but his impact on Tanzanian art has been profound and his legacy continues to build momentum.

The artist began practicing art out of necessity, finding that he could use enamel bicycle paint on ceiling board, cut into squares, and sell his work. He began displaying these pieces in stores across the city of 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 started to draw in close friends and family from the Makonde community to help him, firstly preparing boards and later guiding them to make their own paintings. His career was cut short when he was shot dead at the age of 40.

The Tingatinga style has now become a large industry in Tanzania, with co-operatives and small factories set up to meet the demand from local and international buyers but few original E.S. Tingatinga’s come on the market.