One-of-a-Kind Art Restored

Artwork deserves it’s own post, especially given the marvelous restoration of the above piece (Hubs and I bartered for the one with the black background). A bit of a backstory…

Our travels took us to Mto Wa Mbu, Tanzania and an art gallery. Specifically, a large open air gallery greeted us. Wood fencing formed the walls, and an insane number of original paintings were hanging from walls, trees and anything else the artists found to display them on. The colors were unreal – vibrant, luminous and alluring. The canvases depicted animals, people, scenery, and more animals in highly saturated hues. The paintings were unique and impressive, especially given they were composed of bicycle paints and whatever else the seven artists were able to get their hands on. The style is called Tingatinga, and that’s about the extent of my knowledge gain from the debrief the painters provided. I almost instantly got distracted by a portrait of a zebra. Not a simple black and white portrayal of the stylish horses, half of the white stripes had been filled with brilliant colors, all on a black background.

Hubs became similarly entranced by the amazing depiction of the hoofed creature. After a bit of negotiation, we agreed to purchase not only that painting, but also a close up of a zebras eye as a Christmas gift for my mom. Alas, we were fresh out of Tanzanian schillings. These trusting fellows allowed us to take the canvases with us, with the understanding that we would give one of the guides the cash for him to ferry back to them. Hands were shaken and a verbal contract was entered!

Unfortunately, our purchases did not make it unscathed on the journey back to the States. The well-meaning gents rolled them up backwards (painting rolled inward), and then aggressively taped them inside Korean newsprint. Where they acquired a random, foreign newspaper, I will never know. Anywho… the improper manner in which they were stored resulted in SEVERE cracking and damage to the non-traditional painting style.

Hubs scoured the internet upon our arrival back home, and he discovered a delightful woman to restore the aforementioned and pictured pieces… the delightful Anabela Ferguson and her business, Brush Strokes Fine Art.

Finished products!

She came to our house to inspect our broken paintings, gave us a quote that she did not stray from, and several weeks of repair later, we got the finished product back! The one on the left was “unfinished” by the artists’ standards, which unfortunately, resulted in more damage after rolling and transportation. Anabela stretched, rehydrated, and patched the paint in the cracked areas, resulting in a great restoration. We cannot wait to get ours up on the wall! I can highly recommend Anabela’s services… we dumped an impossible task in her lap. The unknown products used to paint the African creatures (likely, bicycle paints and anything else they could get their hands on), unknown “finishing” techniques… basically, unknown everything.

Anabela is a splendid artist and restorer, and extremely personable. We thought we would be throwing out the one piece, and were exceedingly pleased with the rehabilitation. Her information is below:

Anabela’s website:

Anabela’s YouTube Channel:

Anabela can be contacted at:

Leave a Reply