Of late there has been much talk concerning the turn around made by one of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s, seasoned Fine Artists. Pleased to say that it is no longer a mystery as to why Robino Ntilla, a local specialist in the etching technique, decided to take a different direction in the art form he is using.


Robino Ntila in his studio at home in Mbagala, Dar es Salaam. On left you see his new style which he started in the beginning of the year 2007

Truth is, after attending a workshop organized by Rafiki Art Trust (don´t miss the photo saying: "Robino tried something different"!) on contemporary art last year (2007), he decided its time he departs from the ‘Realistic’ style he has been using together with Francis Imanjama, for over four decades. He taught etching George Lilanga, Damian Msagula, Peter Martin and many more artists. Now his home in the Mbagala outskirts of Dar es Salaam, where he has his studio, has slowly changed in appearance.


Robino explaining his new style at the exhibition at Wasanii Art  Centre in Slipway.

It should not be difficult to imagine how his studio must have looked bearing in mind that his etchings had featured at various exhibitions in over 30 countries. Even on occasions when one of his other painting techniques was featured at an exhibition, there would be one or two etchings.


Robino Ntila is maybe painting first or one of the first abstract paintings. It is at Rafiki Art Trust workshop

He says that prior to the workshop, he had recognised a desire to change his style of work but kept it to himself. At that time he had not yet recognised exactly how to make the transition.
However, after a year working with the abstract art form he thought it time to bring his secret and products out into the open. Since then he has also changed his recent works using the etchings technique from the realistic to the contemporary style.


Robino is showing etchings in which he specializes in many decenniums

As if to make sure that the records are kept straight he says, “All my works over the decades has been in the realistic art form but then I got the feeling to change. This is quite a normal thing in the art world. In life change should always be happening. As an artist, when you’ve work some time in one style it is always better to work in others also.”


His first exhibition of these new works was last May. Now the physical reminder has been revealed to prove that he has taken a step in a new direction. There were 24 paintings of acrylic on canvas within the contemporary art style on display.
Visitors met there said, “Robino Ntilla’s new medium of working involves vibrant colours, which give a joyful feeling.” This seems to suggest that his diversion has been successful.
Those spoken to also say that there are so many things to see in a painting of his that no matter how long you look at one, there’s always more to discover in it. Further, although these paintings are all of acrylic paints on canvas, there is a different picture to be seen in each one.
One lady in particular said, “Everyday one looks at a painting, one can see it to be different from the previous time.”

Author: Iman Mani
Date: 15.11.2008