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The Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society

The Tanzanian Tingatinga painting style was founded in the late 1960's by the autodidact Edward Saidi Tingatinga. Being unemployed in the city of Dar es Salaam he started to paint animals, plants and village scenes on chipboards with bicycle paint. Tingatinga's relatives and friends took up his style of art, passed it on and introduced new ideas. After the sudden death of Tingatinga - he was shot accidentally in a police razzia 1972 - the remaining painters established the art style as a cultural identity of Tanzania.

After Tingatinga's tragical death the painters organized themselves as a cooperative, the "Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society" (TACS), with the aim to continue the art of painting in its founder's sense. TACS was registered on 28th July, 1990. Today almost 100 painters work in the cooperative - including a few women. Many regard themselves still as Tingatinga's successors, others experiment with new forms and motives. On the one hand the cooperative operates as a painting school for the Tingatinga style of art, but on the other it promotes the art sales internationally to enable its members to earn their living.

1996/1997 the Swiss development association Helvetas launched an extensive sales exhibition which toured through several cities in Switzerland. With the proceeds a building for the cooperative in Dar es Salaam was financed, thus providing the painters with a shelter in the rain seasons. Helvetas also supported the cooperative in management, organizational and marketing issues.
Standing on its own feet since 2007, the objective of the cooperative is to be independent of external financial and administrative help in the future, as well as to promote the lively Tanzanian culture.