Elias Jengo

b.1936, Tanga town, lives near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Elias Jengo is a Tanzanian artist and educator. Alongside Sam Ntiro, he founded the University of Dar es Salaam’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts in 1969, where he lectured for over two decades. He paints ‘semi-abstract’ figurative scenes in selective palettes, focusing on themes from the everyday, to women’s liberation and the pollution of our natural environment.


Art Education, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.
Art Education, Kent State University, Ohio, Unites States of America.
Educational Technology, Sir George Williams University (now Concordia), Montreal, Canada.

Solo Exhibitions (International)

1993: Dortmund, Germany.
1992: Munster, Germany.
1989: Westphalia Park, Dortmund, West Germany. 
1989: Staacken, Berlin, Germany.

Solo Exhibitions (Tanzania)

2019: The Forgotten Agenda, Nafasi Art Space, Dar es Salaam.
1991: Norad Premises, Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam.
1990: Goethe Institute, Dar es Salaam.
1988: Lamboni Road, House No. 2 University Campus, Dar es Salaam.

Group Exhibitions (International)

2019: The Legendary Artists of Tanzania, Nairobi Gallery, Nairobi.
2008: AFRICA/NOW - Contemporary Art from Africa, Rundetaarn, Copenhagen, Denmark; Tampere Art Museum, Tampere, Finland.
1998: Moderne Africanische Malerei, Gallerie Halsen, Frankfurt, Germany.
1995: Rise with the Sun: Women and Africa, Winnipeg, Canada.
1995: Africus: Johannesburg Biennale, Johannesburg, South Africa.
1994: Gallery African Heritage, Oslo, Norway.
1993: Gallerly Espc, Finland.
1993: Sognefjord Art Cruise, Oslo, Norway.
1989: Artists of Africa, Ottawa, Canada.
1988: Dronninglund Art Centre, Tvind, Denmark.
1984: Commonwealth Institute, London.
1977: Lagos, Nigeria.
1975: New Stanley Hotel, Nairobi.
1971: Union Carbide Building, New York, United States of America.
1970: Moscow, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (now Russia).
1969: Munich, Germany.
1967: Lusaka, Zambia.

Group Exhibitions (Tanzania)

1998: Contemporary Tanzanian Painting, Goethe Institute, Dar es Salaam.
1997: Mkomazi Mind and Memory Maps, The British Council, Dar es Salaam.
1996: National Museum of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam.
1995: Tanzania Art Panorama, Dar es Salaam.
1995: United Nations Development Programme Headquarters, Dar es Salaam.
1992: Russian Cultural Centre, Dar es Salaam.
1988: Frontline Youth Centre, Ihemi, Iringa.
1986: United States Information Center, Dar es Salaam.
1983: Goethe Institute, Dar es Salaam.
1978: Goethe Institute, Dar es Salaam.
1976: National Museum of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam.
1974: National Library Dar es Salaam.
1968: Goethe Institute, Dar es Salaam.


Contemporary Art Gallery, National Museum of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam.

Commissions in Tanzania

Mural and monument commissions, designed and executed in collaboration with Prof. S.J. Ntiro, exist at the following sites:

1990: Bank of Tanzania Branch, Mbeya. (six murals)
1986: Bank of Tanzania, Arusha. (one mural)
1985: Chama cha Mapinduzi Chairman office, Dodoma. (four murals)
1984: Air Tanzania Corporation Headquarters, Ohio Street, Dar es Salaam. (five murals)
1980: Kilimanjaro Chama cha Mapinduzi Regional Headquarters, Moshi. (four murals)
1979: Posts and Telecommunication Head-quarters, Ohio Street, Dar es Salaam. (four murals)
1979: Bank of Tanzania, Mwanza Branch, Mwanza. (two murals)
1977: Lumumba Street, Dar es Salaam. (Monument for the 10th Anniversary of the Arusha Declaration)

Other Commissions

1995: Poster Design, General Elections.
1984: Ceremonial Robe Design, Chairman of the Sokoine University of Agriculture Council.
1978: Oil Paint Mural, Board of Internal Trade Training Centre, Pugu Road, Dar es Salaam.
1977: Oil Paint Mural, The Burning of the Faithful, St. Alban's Anglican Church Upanga, Dar es Salaam.
1971: Monument Design, 10th Independence Anniversary, Tabora.


2004 - 2005: Fulbright Fellowship, Scholar in Residence, Stark College campus, Kent State University, Ohio.


2016: A concise study on contemporary art in Tanzania, Yves Goscinny, in collaboration with Elias Jengo (Dar es Salaam: Embassy of Switzerland in Tanzania).
2003: "Pioneers of Contemporary Art in Tanzania," East Africa Art Biennale (Dar es Salaam: EAAB).
2000: "The Visual Arts in Tanzania," Art in Tanzania (Dar es Salaam: Michel Lanfrey/East African Movies Ltd).
1999: "The Role of Political Caricature and Cartoons in the Democratization Process of East Africa," Sunday Observer, September 5, 1999, 11.
1998: "Art for Nature Sake," Financial Times, June 10–16, 1998, 11.
1997: The Visual Arts of Tanzania, (Hodi: Journal of the Norway Tanzania Association).
1992: "Consultancy Report on the Improvement and advancement of the Bandari College audio-visual Unit," by Elias Jengo, and S T Mahenge, June 1992.
1990: "Calendar of oil paintings in full colour from 1969–1989," (Berlin: Published by Gerda Nitschke, Butteller Dam).
1985: "Special Problem of Artists in Developing Countries," In Authorship and Copyright in Tanzania, edited by C. Rwezaura (Dar es Salaam: Dar es Salaam Institute of Education)
1985: "Towards a National Cultural Policy for the Promotion of Art in Tanzania," Utafiti: Journal of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 7, no. 1 (1985).
1983: Falsafa ya Sanaa Tanzania, edited by Elias Jengo, L A Mbughuni and Sadaani Abdu Kondoro (Dar es Salaam: National Arts Council).
1983: "Towards Rational Application of Audio Visual in Education and Training Studies in Curriculum Development," (Dar es Salaam: Institute of Education, No. 8).
1982: Sanaa za Asili, Urithi wa Utamaduni wetu, edited by C.K Omari and Martin Mvungi (Dar es Salaam: TPH)
1979: "Art and National Development," Tanzania Educational Journal 17 (1979).
1976: "Folk Media and Social Development in Tanzania," Communication for Social Development in Africa (Nairobi: UNICEF).
1975: "Educational Technology: Its Place in the Process of Life Long Education in Tanzania," Programmed Learning and Educational Technology (London: Sweet and Maxwell Ltd)
1972: "A Survey of Audio Visual Equipment in Tanzania Schools and Colleges," (Dar es Salaam: Dar es Salaam Institute of Education, Mimeo).
1971: Bamboo Pen/Kalamu ya Mwanzi (Dar es Salaam: Dar es Salaam Institute of Education, Mimeo).
1971: Uchunguzi wa Zana za Kufundishia katika Shule za Msingi Tanzania, (Dares Salaam: Dar es Salaam Institute of Education).

Published Artworks

1993: Marja Jänis, Michael Garner, Africa Kila Kitu: Contemporary art of Tanzania and Zimbabwe, (Helsinki: Finnish Artists' Association, 1993), 8.
1986: Sunday News, June 1986, 5.
1986: Kojo Fosu, "Elias Jengo," 20th Century Art of Africa (Nigeria: Gaskiya Corp, 1986), plate 119, 117. 
1983: Klima V et al (eds), Safari za Africkou Kulturcu, (Czech Republic: Praha, 1983), 375.
1981: Elias Jengo, L A Mbughuni and Sadaani Abdu Kondoro, Falsafa ya Sanaa Tanzania (Dar es Salaam: National Arts Council, 1982), 45.
1971: Newsweek, December 1971.
1971: Time International, December 1971.

Academic Publications (by and about)

Elias Jengo, "The Making of Contemporary Art in Tanzania," African Arts 54, no.3. (August 2021): 50–61.
Álvaro Luís Lima, "The Place of Socialism in African Art," African Arts 54, no.3. (August 2021): 10–13.
Imani Sanga, "Postcolonial archival fever and the musical archiving of African identity in selected paintings by Elias Jengo," Journal of African cultural studies 26, no.2. (June 2014): 140–154

Conference Papers

2002: "Similarities and Differences Between Rock Art and Contemporary Art," International Workshop on Documentation and Conservation of Rock Art, January 2002, Arusha, Tanzania.
1996: "Current Issues in the Nomenclature of African Art: The Challenge of a Tradition," The Significance of Traditional Cultures for Today's Society, Seminar: November 11-13, Goethe Institute, Dar es Salaam.
1994: "Communication strategy in Community-Based Protection of the Rights of the Child," Community Based Protection of the rights of the Child, Seminar: August 23-25, Kunduchi Hotel, Dar es Salaam.
1993: "Roots and inspiration in African Art," International Conference on Ethnic Art, Conference: Oct 25- Nov 3, Oslo, Norway.
1991: "Africa in Search of Ethnic Aesthetics in the Visual Arts," Patterns of change in the Contemporary Caribbean, Workshop: June 12-25, City College of New York, New York.
1989: "Nadharia ya Mawasiliano" (Communication Theory), Community Development Publicity Seminar, Iringa, Tanzania.
1988: "The Anatomy of Communication," Audio-visual Media Refresher Course for Community Development Officers, Iringa, Tanzania.
1986: "Contemporary African Painting: Problem and Perspectives," 50th Anniversary of Malangatana Art, Maputo, Mozambique.
1985: "Current Issues in Contemporary African Art," US Citizens Meeting, United States Embassy, Dar es Salaam.
1980: "Towards the Rational Application of Audio-Visual Media in Education and Training," National Curriculum Development Workshop for Adult Education Tutors, organised by the United Nation Population and Family Life Education Project, Dar es Salaam.
1979: "Communication Process in Education and Training," Workshop for Teachers of Financial Management, Dar es Salaam.
1978: "Educational Technology: Its Implication for School Inspectors," School Inspectors' Seminar, Kibaha, Coast Region, Tanzania.
1977: "Mass Media and Black Civilisation," 2nd World African and Black Festival of Art and Culture, Lagos, Nigeria.
1977: "Cultural Imperialism and Artistic Underdevelopment in East Africa," Universities of Eastern Africa Social Science Conference, Dar es Salaam.
1973: "Education Technology Needs in Developing Nations," Association for the Development of Instruction Systems, Cape Rouge, Quebec, Canada.


2008: Founding Board Chairman, Nafasi Art Space, Dar es Salaam.
2003 - ongoing: Chairman, East Africa Biennale Association.
1999: Chairman,Members of the State House Art Committee
Chairman, National Arts Council, Tanzania,


Visit Prof Jengo's website