George Lilanga (Tanzanian, 1934-2005)
Untitled (the businessman), undated
Signed ‘Lilanga’ (on the base)
Painted wooden sculpture
67 x 25 x 20cm
US$ 1,200 – 2,000
Sold Ksh 375,680
Provenance: private collection
Lilanga’s works were inspired by the spirit world of the Makonde tribe in southern Tanzania. He began training as a sculptor in 1961, making wood carvings in the traditional Makonde style. In 1970 he moved to Dar es Salaam where he encountered the Tinga Tinga School which had a profound effect on his work. In 1978 he made his first trip to New York and the following year participated in a group exhibition of African artists in Washington.
Infamous graffiti artist Keith Haring saw his paintings there and later acknowledged that this encounter had had a significant influence on his own work. Today Lilanga is one of the region’s most celebrated artists and features in many important private and institutional collections of African art.