Tinga tinga is a painting style developed in the second half of the 20th century in the Oyster Bay area in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and afterward spread to most East Africa. Tinga Tinga paintings are one of the most widely symbolized forms of tourist-oriented fine art in Tanzania, Kenya and adjoining countries. The genre is named after its creator, Tanzanian painter Edward Said Tingatinga.
Tinga Tinga paintings are conventionally made on mazonite, using numerous layers of bicycle paint, which makes for luminous and highly statured colors. Many fundamentals of the style are associated to requirements of the tourist-oriented market; like the paintings are usually small so they can be easily transported, and subjects are proposed to appeal the Europeans and Americans. In this sense, Tinga Tinga paintings can be deemed as a form of airport art. The drawings themselves can be portrayed as both youthful and sketch, and humor and irony are often precise.
In past times, this African art was well thought-out as the black art but, then the variation in times and the change in thinking pattern of people has influenced this art very much and it has completely altered now. Paintings of this art represent the African culture and its nature, various painters in Tanzania are taking pains to try new things with rich African culture and this art is quickly gaining popularity. Tinga Tinga paintings are beautiful form of expression which has given birth to exclusive style of impressionism. This art form depicts natural surroundings and life of Africa.
Local artists of Tanzania have been functioning for tourists to accomplish special requirements of long-distance travelers, including size. The paintings are one of the most renowned categories of paintings in Africa. However, following four paintings themes are highly admired among art lovers.
Couple Theme – Founders of the community are represented through this theme of painting. This theme is very popular among people as it implies power and proud. Shrines and sculptures were only used for special occasions.
Mother with her children- This theme is popular because it portrays the importance of a relation between the mother and her child.
Man along with weapon or animal- This theme represents the power and status of being individual and admiration for ancestors. This also represents strength and opulence.
Stranger- This theme represents the hospitable nature of the community and the country.
It is an art form which is widely acknowledged and art collectors endow huge amount of money to procure the Tinga Tinga paintings. This helps local artists of Tanzania in discovering, gaining recognition and receiving good amount of money. This also helps in preserving and conserving the local art of the country.
By filling facade as completely as possible, with one or more of the animals, Tinga Tinga artists often utilize the motifs as if they were a part of the Swahili tradition anyway. Animal figures are drawn so that they in their whole fit into the frame of masonite, or two animals are decoratively positioned next to each other, as if they were tangled calligraphy letters from an old Nordic textile design – or, rather, a selection out of a creatively rendered, striking Arabic Koran verse. Numerous Tinga Tinga paintings demonstrate both the genesis of and the reunion between east and west in eastern Africa.