TingaTinga Information

Tingatinga headquarters in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

We do not sell Prints of Tingatinga Art.

African Art for the Young at Heart

The Tingatinga Appeal

The Tingatinga Style African paintings are animated, fun, creative, and are commonly bought as gifts for children's rooms. Tingatingas carry a mystique of beauty that has created a common universal appeal.

Around the end of the first decade of 2000, shows animated by Tingatinga African painters appeared in a two season series called "Tingatinga Tales" by The BBC and Walt Disney. It was marketed as a children's TV series. 

From Harmeet Sawhney

TingaTinga History

Tingatinga Art has become a symbol of successful art that lived long past its originator’s death.

Edward Saidi Tingatinga started the style and lived from 1932-1972, having died at a young age by getting hit by a stray bullet from police responding to a scene of theft. Edward was passing by and was not involved in the crime scene, but the police thought he was in the gang of thieves and he was mistakenly shot and killed. Wrong place, wrong time.

Founder Edward Saidi TingatingaEdward was born in a village called Namochelia in the Mindu area, near the  Nakapanya Village. South Tanzania. He moved to Dar es Salaam at an age of employment. He worked both as a gardener and a ward attendant at Muhimbili Hospital.

But he was looking for more and soon after these jobs, tried his hand at painting.  Edward saw how easily Congolese citizens sold their artworks in Tanzania. His father was a farmer and his mother a home maker.  Tingatinga thought he could do better for his life.

In 1968, having little money, Tingatinga used what was available to him for painting materials: Bicycle gloss paint and hardboard tiles.  Edward should have started painting earlier as they were immediately and universally appealing. The style you see today of Tingatinga paintings was adopted from Edward and mimic his animated, bright colored wildlife and village scenes.

Edward needed help in making his paintings and hired some other painters, mostly from his family, and they carried on his training and craft following Edward Tingatinga's untimely death. His years of painting were only four. Despite this short time, his paintings captured the attention of Tanzania’s National Arts Company and he painted wholesale for them.

Fast forward forty years later and the Tingatinga style painting has become a symbol of Tanzania’s artwork.

Tingatinga Creation Process

During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, for the first time, Tingatinga paintings became popular outside of East Africa, opening up an avenue for tourists from abroad to collect these works.  Originally made on hardboard panels, the medium moved to oils on canvas so travelers could more easily package them to take home from Tanzania.  The artists producing the paintings at the time experimented with more than one way to prepare the canvas, including duds that cracked when the temperature dropped. They found that they could produce the best quality on a heavy cloth using enamel paints, which made them shiny without a glare.  The result is a beautifully defined painting with a mirage of bright colors in the background.

The official Tingatinga Cooperative - recognized as such by the Tanzanian government. With many different painters, the Tingatinga Cooperative Society is recognized since 1990 as the official art form inherited from Edward Saidi Tingatinga and had included many of his family members, some of whom have recently passed away due to old age.


The Tingatinga Cooperative has nearly 100 painters in it, about the same as the number of artists True African Art has served. Each Tingatinga painting is faithfully hand painted in the Tanzanian studio using premium oils on canvas. We buy direct from this Cooperative's artists, and not through another Tingatinga website. Finding Tingatinga art paintings somewhere else in East Africa or online usually is not officially the authentic Tingatinga style coming from the organization of African artists in the Cooperative.  

Tingatinga art form continues to live on depicting the Tanzanian climate and the lifestyle of people in urban and rural locations.  Tingatinga started a style of art that is being carried on by the next generation.  Enjoy the few original pieces we have left by clicking the button below.

We do not sell Prints of Tingatinga Art.

TingaTinga Paintings Examples:

Tingatinga Paintings | True African Art .com
"TT - 77"

Tingatinga African paintings from Tanzania, East Africa
"TT - 85"



Tingatinga art showcases cartoon animal paintings. 

"TT - 53"

Patterns of dots and others make Tingatingas easily identifiable.
"TT - 86"

Black and White Spotted Giraffes - Tingatinga Art
"TT - 50"

Tingatinga Art from Tanzania's Cooperative Arts Society
"TT x- 62"

Tingatinga art featuring birds of East Africa.
"TT - 67"