Lot 15 Edward Saidi Tingatinga at Art Auction East Africa

Edward Saidi Tingatinga (Tanzanian, 1932-72)
Untitled, circa 1968-72
Signed ‘E. S. TINGATINGA’ (lower right) with certificate of authenticity
Enamel paint on board
60 x 61 cm

Ksh 500,000-880,000
(US$ 4,500-8,000)
Sold Ksh 845,280

Provenance: private collection

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 however has been profound and his legacy has continued to build momentum.

The artist developed his distinctive approach to creating paintings initially 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 style of painting and began to collect his work. As his success grew, Tingatinga hired and trained close friends and family, firstly helping him to prepare boards, and later guiding them to make their own paintings.

The Tingatinga style has now become a large industry in Tanzania, with high demand from local and international buyers, but few E.S. Tingatinga originals come on the market.

This composition shows a yellow shetani (a spiritual being of Swahili mythological belief), in the form of a giraffe, kissing a black python (considered to be a messenger of death), hence depicting the ability of Mashetani to tame death. The piece was acquired by the seller from Karibu Art Gallery, Dar es Salaam, circa 2004.