George Lilanga

1934 - Jun 27, 2005

George Lilanga was a Tanzanian painter and sculptor, active from the late 1970s and until the early 21st century. He belonged to the Makonde people and lived most of his life in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania.
Alongside other African contemporary artists, his work was exhibited in international art shows, including Africa Remix 2004 or African Art Now in 2005. Through these exhibitions and the ensuing interest of art critics and collectors of contemporary African art, Lilanga became the internationally most renowned artist of Tanzania.
In the beginning, he worked in the Makonde artistic tradition of carving sculptures from wood. After having been exposed to other modern artists at the cultural centre Nyumba ya Sanaa, he transformed typical sculptural forms into two-dimensional art works like paintings, etchings or panels. With this innovation, he developed his own style out of the Shetani figures of the modern Makonde sculptures. His paintings are characteristic for his colourful and ironic style, reflecting everyday life in Tanzania as he saw it.
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