Lot 16 Edward Saidi Tingatinga (Tanzanian, 1932–72) Untitled (Elephant Eating from the Marula Tree), 1971, at Art Auction East Africa 2019

Edward Saidi Tingatinga (Tanzanian, 1932–72)
Untitled, (Elephant Eating from the Marula Tree), 1971
Signed ‘12-5-71 E. S. TINGATINGA’ (lower middle)
Enamel paint on board
58.2 x 61.1 cm

Ksh 600,000–940,000
(US$ 5,500–8,500)
Sold Ksh 5,635,200

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.

As would be expected with Tingatinga works of this age, there is some sign of wear and tear around the edges of the outer border.