Born 1934, Kikwetu, Masasi District, Tanzania
Lives and work in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

Georges Lilanga comes from the high, arid plateaus of the Mozambique-Tanzania border. This is the great center of Makonde culture, noted especially for its mapico initiation dances and rich sculptural traditions. Lilanga began his training as a sculptor in 1961. In 1972 he settled in Dar-es-Salaam; in 1973 he became associated with the newly founded Nyumba ya Sanaa (House of Arts), a gallery and cultural center established by local artists. In 1980 he encountered the works of the Tingatinga School (established by the followers of Eduardo Saidi Tingatinga, 1939-1972) and Tingatinga’s example of exuberantly patterned and playfully abstracted paintings had a profound effect on his work.

Lilanga’s art—animated by a keen sense of social critique and caricature—illustrates the continuity of artistic vision among the Makonde and its renewal in the context of the present day. In many ways his sculptures and paintings follow Makonde conventions. His playful figures are best understood as heirs to the Makonde shetani, the unruly spirits of Makonde cosmology. Similarly, the complexity of his paintings can be compared to the Makonde ujamaa (tree of life), which signifies unity and solidarity. At the same time, the vibrant inventiveness of Lilanga’s work also testifies to the profound revolution that marked the birth of individualization and personal talent in Africa.

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2004
Tingatinga and Lilanga
Kouchi Prefecture Art Museum.
Kouchi - Japan.

2003
Lilanga d’ici et d’ailleurs
Centre Culturel François Mitterrand
Périgueux - France

2003
George Lilanga
Christa’s Fine Tribal Art Gallery
Copenhague - Denmark

2002
Georges Linlanga -MAMCO, Geneva

1999
Georges Lilanga "Storie Africane"
Franco Cancelliere Arte Contemporanea.Messina, Italy
Fabbrica Eos. Milano, Italy.

1995
"Lilanga's Artist in Residence and Workshop"
Hiroshima City Moderne Art Museum. Japan.

1994-1995
"Lilanga's Cosmos"
Okariya Gallery.

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2005
Arts of Africa
Grimaldi Forum
Monaco - France

2005
African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Museum of Fine Art Houston
Houston - USA

2004 (travelling exhibition)
Africa Remix
Art contemporain d’un continent

  • 24 July 2004 – 7 Nov 2004
    Museum Kunst Palast
    Düsseldorf - Germany
  • 10 Feb 2005 – 17 April 2005
    Hayward Gallery
    London – England
  • 15 May 2005 – 20 Aug 2005
    Centre Georges Pompidou
    Paris – France
  • Feb – May 2006
    Mori Art Museum
    Tokyo
2003 - 2004
Latitudes
Hôtel de Ville
Paris - France

2002
Mapico Dance
MAMCO
Geneva – Switzerland

2002
Georges Lilanga
Galleria Spazia
Bologna - Italy

2000 - 2001
Shanghai Biennale 2000
Shanghai - China

2000
Il ritorno dei Maghi
Palazzo dei Sette. Orvieto, Italy.

2000-1999
Casino di Malindi, Kenya.
Desposito 6, Verona, Italy.

1999-1998
African Contemporary Art
Lenz Gallery of Art.
Pregassona, Italy.
La Persia srl.
Palazzo Carlotti, Verona, Italy.

1996
Dak'Art
Dakar 2nd Biennal, Senegal.

1995
Johannesbourg 1st International Biennal
Johannesburg, South Africa

1995-1994
"Haring K. and Lilanga"
"Animals and Spirits of Africa"
Pantheon Tama Gallery.
Tokyo, Japan.
Mimoca Gallery.
Marugane, Japan.

1993
"La Grande Vérité, Les Astres Africains"
Nantes Fine Art Museum.
Nantes, France.

1992
Out of Africa
Saatchi & Saatchi Gallery.
London, Great-Britain.

1992
Tingatinga Art
Art Tower Mito.
Tokyo, Japan.

1983
National Gallery.
Harare, Zimbabwe.

1981-1979
National Museum, Dar Es Salaam.
International Summer Academy.
Salzburg, Austria.(1983-1987).

1978
Marykoll Ossining Centre.
New-York, USA.
IMF Hall, World Bank.
Washington, USA.

1977-1976
Goethe Institut.
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

1976
National Gallery of Botswana.
Gaborone, Botswana.

1974
National Museum.
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

2005
African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Merrell.

2004
Africa Remix
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Hatje Cantz Verlag.

2004
Tingatinga and Lilanga
Exhibition catalogue

2003
Latitutes 2003
Exhibition catalogue. Mairie de Paris.

2003
Safari nocturne
Exhibition catalogue (Centre Culturel François Mitterand).

2001
Tribal Soul, Metropolitan Body.
Contemporary African Art.
Valerio Deho, Barbara Grimani, Enrico Mascelloni, Sarenco, Aldo
Tagliaferri.
Publication : L'Artière.

2000
Georges Lilanga E Altre Stories Dell'Arte Tanzania
Enrico Mascelloni E Sarenco
Book, 120 pages, bilingual text Italian, English.
SAFARIBOOKS Adriano Parise Editore.

1999
"Storie Africane" Georges Lilanga.
Testo (italiano) di Lucio Barbera, Interview Sarenco.
Exhibition Catalogue. Franco Cancelliere Arte Contemporanea.Messina.
Fabbrica Eos.Milano.
Adriano Parise Editore.

1996
Contemporary Art of Africa
Territory : Georges Lilanga by André Magnin p.36-39, text in English.
Edited by André Magnin & Jacques Soulillou
Published By Harry N. Abraams, USA.

1995
Lilanga's Cosmos
Contemporary Art of Africa
Editor Shirashi Kenji & Yamamoto Fumiko.
Catalogue d'exposition, bilingual text Japonese, English.

1993
La Grande Vérité, Les Astres Africains
Contemporary African Art Collection
Lilanga by André Magnin, text in French p.46-49.
Nantes Fine Art Museum.