George Lilanga (Tanzanian, 1934-2005)
Untitled (Man with Phone and Cigarette), undated
Signed ‘Lilanga’ (to base)
Painted wooden sculpture
95 x 23 x 20 cm

Ksh 363,000-440,000
(US$ 3,300-4,000)
Sold Ksh 410,900

Provenance: private collection of the Emerson Foundation, Zanzibar

George 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 Tingatinga 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 D.C. Infamous graffiti artist Keith Haring saw his paintings there and later acknowledged that this encounter had significantly influenced his own work.

Today Lilanga is one of the region’s most celebrated artists and his work features in many important, private and institutional collections of African art.