George Lilanga (Tanzanian, 1934 – 2005)
Husafi Wameno ata Ukiwa na Jino Moja, undated
Signed ‘Lilanga’ (lower middle)
Enamel on board
61 x 61 cm
US$ 3,000 – 5,000
Provenance: acquired in Dar es Salaam by current owner in 2005
Sold US$ 3,522

George Lilanga is one of Tanzania’s best-known artists internationally. He fused influences from traditional Makonde carving with surreal, modern observations to create his much celebrated, idiosyncratic sculptures and paintings.

Lilanga began training as a sculptor in 1961, making wood carvings in the traditional Makonde form. He moved to Dar es Salaam in 1970, where he encountered the Tingatinga School, which had a profound effect on his work. In 1979 he participated in a group exhibition of African artists in Washington DC, where the artist Keith Haring saw Lilanga’s paintings and later acknowledged the significant impact this encounter had made on his own work.

Today Lilanga’s work is widely collected, featuring in many important private and institutional collections of African art. This painting, Husafi wameno ata ukiwa na Jino Moja (dental hygiene even if you have one tooth) continues in the narrative tradition of Tingatinga style paintings often espousing a lesson or marking a moment in time.