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Simon Mpata (also spelled Mapata) was the youngest half-brother of the Tinga Tinga workshop founder Edward Saidi Tingatinga. Mpata was a faithful follower of his brother’s style. After his brother’s death in 1972, Mpata moved to Nairobi where he began exhibiting with Gallery Watatu and opened his own studio, continuing to produce work in the Tinga Tinga style.
This work has characteristic Tinga Tinga features: a flat style on a square-format block red background. The text on the tree loosely translates to ‘The Snake Healer was born in Tabora, Tanzania in 1923’. ‘Mzee’ means ‘elder’ in Swahili, and ‘Mayunga’ could be the man’s name. This is, therefore, likely to be a portrait.
oil on hardboard
H 60.9 x W 61.2 cm
1. 'MZEE MAYUNGA/MGANGA WA NYOKA/MAYUNGA ALIZALIWA/MWAKA 1923 HUKO TABORA/TANZANIA/BY S.G.MPATA' 2. 'MZEE MAYUNGA'