Tinga Tinga paintings originated in Africa

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Tinga Tinga painting originating in Southern Tanzania and Mozambique and were painted from pigments found in nature; typical subjects to be painted were people and animals. Tinga Tinga named after Edward S. Tingatinga. He was born in Mozambique but later he moved to Tanzania and settled there. During the 1960s he recognized an African art form that became associated with his new mother country, Tanzania. Today, Tinga Tinga is the Tanzanian term for this form of art, known generally in Tanzania, Kenya, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

Among Edward S. Tingatinga's successors, his half brother Seymond Mpata should be mentioned. In the beginning of his career, he painted tourist-friendly landscape motifs such as "Kilimanjaro" with its snow-capped peak, landscapes with exotic animals, etc. A cousin to Edward's wife, January Linda, was instrumental to his establishment in the market at an early stage, and she was also a painter herself. Cousins Alcis Amonde and Kasper Henrik Tedo joined the operation as did nephew Abdallah Ajaba. Edward Tingatinga lost his life in 1972 when he entered a restricted area near a harbor and chose to run when ordered to stop. He was shot to death.

Over the years, knowledge about Tinga Tinga has reach to other parts of Africa and Europe, as well as to other English-speaking parts of the world. Tinga Tinga is a concept that growth help workers and African tourists alike have been drawn to, but which, over time, has lost its uniqueness. In the past, Tinga Tinga art could be sold on its name alone, but progressively more other works of African art are being presented as "Tinga Tinga" as well.

From a simply technical point of view, tinga tinga art can be defined as painting on masonite using bicycle paint. The paintings can be as small as ceramic tiles, while the major paintings are no doubt hanging above thousands of family room sofas. Market boundaries have prohibited artists from working in larger formats. A majority of the buyers have been foreigners wanting to transport the images out of the country by airplane. From that point of view, tinga tinga is a real form of "airport art" - cultural art from developing nations that has been modified to the special quirements of long-distance travelers, including size. Also the choice of motifs in tinga tinga art has habitually been adapted to the purchaser's opportunity of what should be included in African paintings.

The spirit of tinga tinga art is centered on coastal east African drawing, where the attractive vines and patterns of the Swahili culture cover delineated places that are never permitted to remain totally empty. It is suggestive of the beautiful,
representative medieval wooden doors, found in the trading cities along the east African coast, as well as the many modern printed cotton fabrics in the form of kitenges and kangas. The flat, lush surface decorations can even be found in revolutionary illustrations from early 1970s political pamphlets, which were produced in Tanzania by the exiled Mozambican liberty fighters.

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