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African Art Paintings
The term African art is typically used for African art oil paintings from Sub-Saharan Africa. Amateurs in the past had casually generalized the art from all across Africa, not realizing that Africa is full of different races, each with a distinct visual culture.

Interestingly the definition of African art paintings also includes the art of the African diasporas such as African Americans. Though the African art enjoys quiet a broad diversity but there are similarities in the visual culture among the different African countries.

The art in Africa has also been dominated by the religion that the particular area practiced. The oil paintings of Ethiopia art, which had a long Christian presence is very different from those areas, where Islam is practiced. The definition of the term African Art does not include the art of the North African countries and the Mediterranean coast.


The West still drives the tempo and character of art in post World War II Africa. The West still applies its own metric to characterize the African Art, continuing to insist on an ethnic identification for African Art paintings. They have gone to the extent of calling the African Art primitive, which has been strongly contested by the African, who have insisted on not conforming the western benchmarks.

Colonialism and independence are identified as the factors that lend a character to the African art. In fact, it has bred two groups of artists – one that incorporates the modern styles, largely that have evolved in the west and the other vociferously advocates rejects the “west” and insists on sticking to the traditional styles. There is yet another group that follows a more naturalistic style influenced by the traditional art forms like Ile-fe and Tada sculptures.



Tingatinga is a painting style named after the artist Edward Said Tingatinga, who developed this art form in the second half of the 20th century in the Oyster Bay Area in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and later spread it across East Africa.

TingaTinga African art paintings are traditionally made on masonite, using several layers of bicycle paint. Tinga Tinga art has roots in decorating hut walls in central and south Tanzania.

Interestingly Lusaka in Zambia, has become a hub of Africa art. Lusaka is bursting at the seams with artists. The Henry Tayali gallery—Lusaka’s main fine art gallery—is filled almost from floor to ceiling with works of art.

Zambia has acute unemployment and it is considered better to be an artist and working than to wait for a job that may never come. The school is not possible for a large number of children who cannot afford the fees or the time, which is often spent helping at home. But through art, one can express oneself without the ability to read or write. Through their work, Zambian artists exude a dignity and an understanding of the good and bad of their society. They question, they examine and sometimes judge; the conversation shows no signs of abating.

Chic Wall (www.chicwall.in) has significantly contributed to the African art paintings. Its style is more modern and has captured the lifestyles of different African societies and imaginatively presented through oil paintings created by its artists. Some of them are included below

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