On Sunday with no work obligations, and most of the email in my inbox read (but not answered), I decided to check out some more local art and head over to the Tinga Tinga Co-op. Tinga Tinga is a distinctly Tanzania painting genre founded by Edward Said Tingatinga in the 1950’s.
It started as a hobby on the side but eventually the art form because popular with tourists and Mr.Tingatinga was able to make his hobby a career. Lucky man. He found the Tinga Tinga Art Co-operative Society where people could study and paint. The co-op still exists and it’s amazing and beautiful and hot as hell!
Overwhelming in an great way right? All the painting are created on premises. There are 80 artists, 10 of which are women. Of every piece that’s sold, 20% goes back to supporting the co-op and the artist gets the rest. The great thing is you can watch the artists work as you shop.
It took all my will power not to take everything home with me. I had to think about all the things we already had at home, all the things I wanted to buy and all the wall space that is still empty at home but spoken for by other pieces.
I ended up getting these nameplates/painting for our nephews (personalization free of charge)
This for my sister’s birthday:
This for a guest room:
And one of these for the craft room (on the right) and the one for the in-laws. My parents have already requested spices and shawls.
The pieces are pretty small, 10x10 roughly. I wanted to get a bigger piece but I was worried about rolling them up in my suitcase and where we would hang it. I feel like I ripped the artists off. I got 4 paintings, 2 big name plates, 1 small one and I think it was $12. Someone told me I could have talked it down $4 or $5 but I don’t think I would have even if I knew I could. Those artists work have and $5 means more to them than it does me.
I love the Tinga Tinga style and apparently I’m not alone. I did a quick google search on Tinga Tinga and found that the BBC2 created a children’s series, Tinga Tinga Tales, based on the Tinga Tinga style.
You can buy some of the books on Amazon.com so I’ve already purchased a couple for the boys birthdays coming up. I was thinking they’d go good with the name plates.
If it wasn’t so hot in there, I probably would have spent hours sitting around watching people paint and flipping through all the paintings.
What do you think? Have I made you a Tinga Tinga fan?