Acrylic on masonite | approx. 12 x 24 inches
This painting is in the style of George Lilanga (1934-2005), a Tanzanian artist born in Kikwetu village in southern Tanzania. Lilanga’s colorful artworks underscore a whimsical evolution from traditional Makonde art, which is the source of the shetani* fantastic creatures depicted in virtually all of his paintings and sculptures. Lilanga presents the culture and mythology of his people through canvases swarming with figures, vibrant colors and a rhythmic movement representing Mapico dance, typical of his people. Lilanga’s art is the world of spirits. ”Mizimu” meaning all the presences filling one’s mind, deceased or living.
Lilanga mentored and inspired several artists who worked with him and capitalized on the value of the ‘Lilanga’ label. After George Lilanga’s death, several of those artists and new ones continued to produce under the Lilanga attribution.
*Shetani are spirits of East African mythology and popular belief. Mostly malevolent, and found in many different forms and different types with different powers, shetani are a popular subject of carved artwork, especially by the Makonde people of Tanzania, Mozambique, and Kenya.