August 28, 2003
The prices are fixed, but still very cheap. We bought ‘skeleton’ woodcarvings which varied in price from $2 - $6. There were leather shoes and handbags but I did not buy these because I was not quite sure if the animals were protected animals. If they were, the custom officer would catch me, and the goods would be confiscated. Then a fine has to be paid. There was also a huge range of baskets, jewellery, textiles, pottery and Tingatinga paintings.
Tingatinga was a self-taught artist who painted fanciful and colourful animals. His art became very popular and soon attracted a circle of students who learned to imitate his style. These days there are many Tingatinga painters who sell their work.
Traditional Tingatinga paintings are square in format and feature colourful animals against monochrome background. High-gloss paint gives the paining its glossy appearance. These days there are many formats and multi-coloured backgrounds. Besides animals there are also spidery men, Masaai warriors, houses, hospitals and people.
When we had done our shopping we had a meal in the arts centre restaurant, European cuisine, and watched traditional dancing accompanied by drums which was being recorded for television.
From journal Dar es Salaam