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.

The BBC and Walt Disney aired the Tinga Tinga Tales children's TV series. The shows were animated by Tingatinga African painters.

Today, the art form for all ages can also be found in Kenya, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Norway, South America, Canada, and the United States. 

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 Mind area bar Nakapanya, 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. Tingatinga thought he could do better.

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’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.

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 Cooperative has nearly 100 painters in it now. Each painting is faithfully hand painted in the Tanzanian studio using premium oils on canvas.

Tingatinga art form continues to live on depicting the Tanzanian climate and the lifestyle of people in urban and rural locations.  Edward’s work has also been said to influence the established East African painter, George Lilanga.

Cross Cultural Clashes

Recently, Disney made an animated TV series called “Tinga Tinga Tales.”  In it they hired animators from East Africa, including from the Cooperative. The painters got into an agreement that generated some financial issues and copyright disputes between Disney, the painters, and the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society Manager at the time, Daniel Augusta.  This was all publicized on African Art Online's blog (a website that has since been taken down).

Shortly after the dispute, Daniel, a foreigner to Tanzania from Europe, was charged and expelled from Tanzania for a plethora of problems well known from within the Cooperative and amongst the locals. Thus, Daniel Augusta's visa to Tanzania was permanently revoked and he was deported from the country on authority of its own Government and complaints from registered art organizations.  According to another foreigner in Africa, Todd Schaffer, from Inside African Art, reveals through a picture and text on his website that he is friends with Daniel Augusta and paid Daniel for Tingatinga paintings several times in order to resell them.   

Finally, there are fake Tinga Tinga Paintings out there.  We, True African Art, were spoofed in 2009 by a pack of fake Tingatingas in Mombassa, Kenya.  The real, authentic, original and registered organization is called The Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society and it is in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

What does True African Art do about all of this hubbub?  Simple.  We tell the truth and practice it.  True African Art supports the Tingatinga Cooperative painters as they are the ones hired to paint on demand from a great variety of designs and patterns that composes Tingatinga Art and the Cooperative.  

The artists paint mostly on consignment and it is always a hand painted piece.  They paint inside the Cooperative building in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and all the paintings ordered carry the Cooperative's Stamp of Authority.  So it really is the collectors and buyers that serve the Cooperative through their purchases. 

We do not sell Prints of Tingatinga Art.


TingaTinga Paintings Examples:

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

"TT - 85"



Tingatinga art showcases cartoon animal paintings. 

"TT - 53"

Patterns of dots and other design makes Tingatingas easily identifiable.

"TT - 86"

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

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

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

Tingatinga Cooperative Arts Society  |  True African Art .com
"TT - 59"