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Exploring Tanzania’s Tingatinga Art 

Tingatinga art is a unique and vibrant painting style. Developed in the second half of the 20th century in Tanzania, the bold art form soon developed across other destinations in East Africa. The Tanzanian art of Tingatinga was borne from a simple idea. Use recycled, low-cost materials like masonite squares, ceramic fragments and bicycle paint and transform them into beautiful art. The result is something special. 

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Here we take a closer look at the art of Tingatinga before diving into the world of Tingatinga Paintings. Located in Dar Es Salaam, this local Tanzania art studio offers much more than just the perfect souvenir from your luxury Tanzania vacation

The Perfect Tanzania Souvenir 

Tingatinga paintings are typically striking in colour due to being painted on masonite. Whether painted on canvas, wood, or mottled watercolour paper, however, Tingatinga paintings have a tactile quality that sets them apart. Traditionally painted on small surfaces and incorporating bold and colourful depictions of flora and fauna of Tanzania, Tingatinga art pieces are effortless to transport. As such, over the past 100 years, the uniquely African style of art has become one of the most loved Tanzania souvenirs. Today, Tingatinga has developed to incorporate modern techniques, different materials and a wide range of sizes. 

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Where to buy Tingatinga art

There are certainly no shortages of artistic offerings for those looking for a beautiful piece of Tingatinga art. Sizing, quality and the level of craftsmanship can, however, vary dramatically! For those looking for a premium African art piece, there are few better local art studios in Tanzania than Tingatinga African Art studio in Tanzania’s thriving capital of Dar Es Salaam.

“Our paintings are one of a kind,” the Tingatinga African Art studio tells Tanzania Specialist. “There is something satisfying about purchasing a unique piece of artwork that you cannot get anywhere else. Our African art paintings are handmade in Tanzania. Like handmade clothes or furniture, our paintings show the hand of their maker. Our painters produce works of art that refresh the spirit and make a house a home.”

Tingatinga painters lovingly our their passion into their work. But not only does a Tingatinga painting look beautiful when hung at home, at work or in a cosy boutique. Buying a local Tanzania painting supports local artists directly, making for an entirely more sustainable, community-friendly souvenir. 

Tingatinga Paintings: Maintaining a legend

The founder of Tingatinga Paintings, Edward Tingatinga, was born in the settlement of Mindu in the 1930s. Looking at a road map of Tanzania today, this location cannot be found. In fact, there is not much left of this settlement itself, and the house where he was born is now unfortunately wholly gone. However, the legend of this talented African artist still lives on in The Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society.

Also sometimes referred to as the Tingatinga School, the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society is located alongside Morogoro Stores in Tanzania’s capital. The creative cooperative hosts around 100 talented artists who use art to express their creativity and talent through these colourful art pieces. Many artists see themselves as Tingatinga’s successors and maintain the founder’s style. Others experiment with new forms and motifs, resulting in a beautifully varied and evolved offering to art-lovers.

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The objective of the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society is to promote the lively, magical, unique beauty of Tanzanian culture. On the one hand, the creative cooperative operates as a painting school for the Tingatinga style. On the other, it promotes art sales internationally to enable its members to earn their living.

Are you planning on embarking on a luxury safari in Tanzania? Head to Dar Es Salaam and visit the talented team of The Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society. Alternatively, purchase a lovingly handmade and unique piece from the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society’s official website on

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