Inspired: S. G. Mpata and the meeting of art and architecture


What do a Tanzanian artist and Japanese architecture have in common? The answer can be found in Kenya's Masai Mara game reserve, at the Mpata Safari Club.

The work of Tanzanian artist Simon George Mpata (1942- 1984) is celebrated worldwide and especially made an impact in Japan. In fact, in doing my research for this post, the majority of websites I found that mentioned him were Japanese! A Japanese magazine editor, who came across Mpata's work while in Kenya, was a key force in arranging for his work to be shown outside the continent and then later in 1992, establishing the Mpata Safari Club. Designed by Edward Suzuki, the five star lodge is an homage to the artist, keeping his spirit alive.


Mpata's style of painting is often referred to as Tinga Tinga, named after his half-brother Edward Tingatinga, who first began to paint in the style. I've come across a book about his work, Urban Primitivism, but again, all information seems to be in Japanese! Anyone with any idea of how to access an English version, or any further information about it that's in English – please do share.


Images at top found on Mpata lodge images from the (top) and Mpata Safari Club website. Bottom left image found here

2 thoughts on “Inspired: S. G. Mpata and the meeting of art and architecture”

  1. Hi! It might interest you to know that there was a big exhibition with the works of Tinga Tinga at the prestigious Danish Museum of Modern Art Louisiana in the early 1970’s. My family might have a copy of the exhibition catalogue but I don’t know if it’s in Danish or English (or if I can find it)! See but I didn’t get any information when I searched their data base.
    I lived with my family in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania in 1972-74 and we still have many paintings by the followers of Tinga Tinga, Mpata among others, and we met a few of the painters personally.
    Best regards, Louise Holmlund in Sweden

  2. Hi Louise, thank you so much for your comment. I will also try search for information about that exhibition – I would love to see the work that was shown.
    Have you been back to Dar since the 70s?
    Thanks for reading. All the best!

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