Phillip (Nelly) Ndunguru (Tanzanian, 1962–1986)
Fortune teller, 1983
Signed ‘PHILLIP NELLY 1983’ (lower right)
Gouache on paper
51 x 61.5cm
Sold Ksh 76,310
Provenance: from the artist’s brother
In 1978, Phillip Ndunguru began his career as a painter and later became the most respected comic artist in Tanzania. He worked as chief cartoonist on Sani Magazine, a popular Tanzanian comic book creating the original Tanzanian comic characters still depicted today including, Dr Love Pimbi, a smooth talking womanizer. In the 80s he worked in Nairobi for the Kenya Times, producing a comic strip called Kazibure.
In his short life, Ndunguru made a significant impact on the art scene in Tanzania. He was an inspiration to other cartoonists, including the Nation’s Tanzanian cartoonist Gado.
Ndunguru exhibited his work at the Goethe-Institut and Forodhani Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where the exhibition sold out, and in Zimbabwe, Sweden and Kenya.
This painting depicts how traditional people worship, dance to the spirits and pray to God or the ancestors. The elders have placed small pots of different items, water and grain down for Anteater, who is looking inside the pots, the one he chooses will predict, rain or a good harvest.