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Makonde Art

Tanzania is famous worldwide for wood sculpture generally known as Makonde Art.

The Makonde tribe of Southern Tanzania and Northern Mozambique have a long tradition in wood carving.

Their carvings usually reflect nature objects (animals, human beings) but nowadays the most popular style is the "Shetani" which depicts devils in various forms and the family tree which depicts tradition of togetherness (many images of persons carved together in one piece of wood).

The carving is done by traditional iron tools and the type of wood is usually ebony (black hard wood). The style of representation range from the naturalistic to the abstract. Although the Makonde are from Southern Tanzania, it is common to find groups of them in Dar es Salaam making various carvings for sale to tourists.

 

Arte Tingatinga

Traditionally, people painted on walls, or leather or on stones. Paintings reflect scenes of village or town lives and stylized animals, birds or reflections of superstitious beliefs.

More recently, Tanzanians have developed indigenous form of art mainly very colourful images of life in the community, nature, evil spirits, etc.

The founder of this form of art was a person from the "makua" tribe of southern Tanzania called Edward Said Tingatinga. He was a talented artist with little education but succeeded in making very original paintings in a style not seen anywhere else in the world.

This style of colourful paintings about nature and daily aspects of life in Tanzania is now well known abroad as indigenous Tanzanian art and has been named Tingatinga Art in honour of the pioneer artist who died in 1972 at the age of 35 years. Other famous tingatinga artists are Simon George Mpata 1942-1984, Jaffari Aussi, George Lilanga and Mikidadi Bush Bohary.

 

 

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