The The Authenticity of Today’s Tingatinga Art.

  • Kiagho B Kilonzo, Ph.D Department of Creative Arts, University of Dar es Salaam
Keywords: Tingatinga Art, Authenticity, Painting


This study analyses the authenticity of Tingatinga style in the Tingatinga Painting School and explores factors that influenced the stylistic evolution of the first and second generations. The term “school” in this context refers to a group of artists deploy a similar style in their work and not an educational institution. The study compares and contrasts the styles of the two generations Tingatinga paintings in terms of their form and content. Specifically, the study explores whether the present-day Tingatinga paintings are authentic in addition to analysing the factors that account for stylistic changes. Such information is of immense interest to scholars, museum curators, art collectors, tourists and gallery owners at home and abroad. The findings indicate that the changes that occur in Tingatinga art constitute a stylistic evolution in response to cultural change in society. One should not expect, for instance, a Tingatinga painter who flourished in 2011 to paint like the one who flourished in 1968. For any art to have an intensive communication it has to change with time and adapt to prevailing cultural aspects. These changes, however, do not render the arts unauthentic, although for many years, there has been a tendency to treat art produced by informally-educated Africans as authentic. It is, therefore, possible that the authenticity of Tingatinga paintings, in the eyes of western patrons, originates from this attitude.


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How to Cite
Kilonzo, K. (2018). The The Authenticity of Today’s Tingatinga Art. Sanaa: Journal of African Arts, Media and Cultures, 1(1), 1-11. Retrieved from