Omari Alois Amonde (1940 - 2015)
Omari Amonde was born in 1940 in Nakapanya, South Tanzania. He went to primary school for 4 years and had to do small jobs at the church, which he did not like. He argued with the priest who chased him from school. For some years he spent his time working on the crop fields.
1957 Omari followed his friends, among them Edward S. Tingatinga, to Tanga to work on a sisal plantation. Wages there were poor and the work was hard with many injuries. So he quitted after three years, went to Dar es Salaam to live with relatives. 1964 he returned to Tanga for 8 more years.
In April 1972 he went to Dar for good and joined the students of Tingatinga. They painted at home, then brought their works for sale to the big Baobab tree near Morogoro Stores. "Master Tingatinga never gave instructions nor explications. He kept saying: "Look carefully, watch exactly many times and then try to paint the same." The customers, mostly expatriates, came to buy before and after work. Tingatinga's paintings had always been sold, we never had to take them back in the evening."
One month later E.S.Tingatinga was shot to death. Omari, still a beginner, became a student of the older, more experienced followers of Tingatinga - Mpata, Adeus, Tedo und January Linda.
Omari Amonde was one of the founders of the cooperative and for many years the chairman. For a long time he was the only living student of Tingatinga. He died in February 2015. His brothers Abdul Mkura und Saidi Nakoko are also Tingatinga painters.
Omari Amonde stayed committed to the original style of Tingatinga. Besides the typical animal paintings he liked to paint scenes with a message, like this one:
A stupid boy carries a chicken home from the market head down. The chicken now does the same thing with the boy. "Do you feel comfortable? You should behave with more respect."
In 1992 and 1993 Omari went for one month each to Paris to participate at the exhibitions of Tingatinga paintings at Musée National des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie. He was also invited to exhibitions in China and Japan. in 2010 he was interviewed by the danish gallerist Hanne Thorup. The interview was used for the catalogue of the exhibition "Tingatinga. Kitsch or Quality" in Kopenhagen.