The world would be nowhere near as bright as it is if it weren’t for the vast number of incredible creatures roaming its various places. No matter where we go, a journey on which no animals have been spotted is a very sad journey indeed.

Tanzania is a place with particularly inspiring animals. With its many creatures of all sorts of descriptions, nothing can beat the place in terms of sheer wildlife extravaganza.

It’s, therefore, no wonder that many Tanzanian artists have drawn their inspiration from the various beasts they find around them. This has very much proven to be the case for Edward Saidi Tingatinga, an artist successful enough to have an entire movement named after him.

TingaTinga artwork can be quite difficult to define, but it generally refers to artwork which has been painted in industrial enamel colours. This is what Edward did, beginning his artwork in 1968 while sat under the Baobab tree in Dar es Salaam. Before his death, Edward taught six other painters, all of whom went on to teach other painters. And thus, the TingaTinga movement thrives to this day.

It’s tragic that Edward’s son, Daudi Tingatinga, was only a baby when his father died. This, however, was not a complete loss, as the senior Tingatinga’s artistic legacy survives in his son, who was taught to paint by Mzee Lumumba. Daudi’s artwork generally depicts Tanzanian wildlife in all its various forms, from birds to primates to big cats. The figures often have strongly defined outlines, with very bright eyes. The animals of Tanzania must have formed a strong presence in Daudi’s mind, as they surely would in the mind of any other person who witnesses them, for them to maintain such vibrancy in his artwork.

A love of animals is always a good thing. TingaTinga artwork, if anything, can only serve to enhance the human race’s love of animals. With their Tanzanian origins, maybe there might be a public interest in seeing the very animals depicted face-to-face, and being equally inspired in real life as by the fantastic artwork that is available to us.

– Luke Mayo, Correspondent (Art)

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